Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Georg Preidler has been charged with fraud due to use of blood doping and growth hormones from the 2017 Giro d’Italia until his 3 March 2019 confession to Austrian police, reports the Austrian Press Agency (APA). The Austrian cyclist was sanctioned with a four year ban in July for engaging in blood doping from 1 February 2018 until 23 December 2018, after confessing to police in March. The decision of the Austrian anti-doping agency (ÖADR) to sanction Preidler is not yet final, as he is contesting it.
Preidler raced at the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) Road World Championships in Innsbruck during September last year. It is understood that prosecutors contend that he committed fraud by taking part, as he was contractually obliged to comply with UCI anti-doping rules, which he had knowingly breached.
Preidler confessed to doping in March 2019, after police arrested five athletes and four alleged members of a criminal network in February. In a team resignation statement, Preidler admitted having his blood collected twice at the end of 2018. However, it is understood he argues that the blood was never re-infused.
The police arrests were prompted by the Operation Aderlass investigation into the customers of Dr. Mark Schmidt, following an interview (below) given by cross country skier, Johannes Dürr. Dr. Schmidt previously worked for the Gerolsteiner and Milram teams.
Preidler has 14 days in which to object to the charges, after which the Innsbruck public prosecutor will begin its case against him, reports the APA. The charge of sporting fraud is understood to carry a prison sentence of between six months and five years.
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