Patrik Sinkewitz, who celebrated his season debut last week with his second place at the Trofeo Laigueglia [Link], was suspended by CAS for eight years today, taking into account the suspension of one year and three months that has been served so far. The Lausanne-based international sports court followed NADA's request to impose a ban on the man from Fulda. The subject of the claim was the judgment of the German Sports Arbitration Court of June 19, 2012. At the time, Sinkewitz had been acquitted of the allegations that he had practiced doping with growth hormones (recGH) at the beginning of 2011. A sample taken by the World Cycling Federation on February 27, 2011 had indicated this. NADA then appealed the judgment to CAS.
In Sinkewitz's case, it is made more difficult by the fact that, with today's verdict, he is a repeat offender. As early as 2007, the winner of the 2004 Tour of Germany was noticed during the Tour de France with an elevated testosterone level and was banned. Since he made use of the leniency program at the time, he was able to return to cycling at the end of 2008. Sinkewitz has been driving for the Croatian team Meridiana-Kamen since 2012.
In addition to the ban, Sinkewitz was also sentenced to pay 38.500 euros. The CAS justified its judgment as follows: [At the beginning of the procedure, Patrik Sinketwitz questioned the reliability of the test method.] The CAS committee consisting of Prof. Christoph Vedder [...], dr Dirk Reiner Martens [...] and prof dr Martin Schimke [...] however, follows NADA’s line of evidence, which shows that recGH was detectable in the athlete’s blood sample.” The court further stated that in Sinkewitz's case there was no level of comparison to that of Estonian cross-country skier Andrus Veerpalu. He was also suspected of having used recGH. The artificially produced recGH is similar to the body's own growth hormone somatropin (HGH) and is therefore difficult to detect.
For Sinkewitz, who is the first athlete ever to be banned for using growth hormones, the verdict should mean the end of his career. Sinkewitz himself made no statement. However, there is a press release on his website that states: "Today's CAS ruling is a major step backwards for the necessary and important fight against doping, because the necessary scientific standard for indirect proof of doping, which must always be provided by the accusing association, is unreasonably weakened as a result. It is still unclear whether Sinkewitz will take the legally possible step before the Swiss Federal Court.