4-year ban for Austrian cyclists Denifl, Preidler for doping

Doping (File)
Doping (File)

Vienna - Austrian cyclists Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler have been banned for four years for doping, the Austrian anti-doping agency announced Thursday.

The pair become the first sportspeople to receive a ban following the investigation into the blood doping scandal that blew up at the nordic world championships in Seefeld, Austria, in February.

Denifl, 31, was banned for blood doping from June 2014 until the end of 2018 and loses all honours gained in that time, including his 2017 Tour of Austria crown and a stage win on Spain's Vuelta in the same year.

Preidler, 29, was found to have doped between February and December 2018, so keeps his third place on the 2016 Giro d'Italia.

The pair had both been provisionally suspended by cycling's world governing body the UCI in March.

The UCI last month also suspended two other riders, Slovenian Kristijan Koren and Croatia's Kristijan Durasek, linked to the so-called "Aderlass affair". Ex-Italian champion Alessandro Petacchi and Slovenia's Borut Bozic were also cited by the UCI.

The ongoing investigation is focused on a sports doctor suspected of being at the centre of the network, Mark Schmidt, who was already implicated in previous doping cases in cycling.

Arrested in February at his Erfurt offices in Germany, Schmidt is suspected of having helped dope at least 21 sportspeople of eight different nationalities from five sports, according to prosecutors in Munich.

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