News 15th March 2019

ÖADR provisionally suspends Johannes Dürr

The Austrian anti-doping commission (ÖADR) has provisionally suspended cross country skier Johannes Dürr, as part of ongoing investigations into doping in Austria and Germany. In January, Dürr admitted that he had used blood transfusions, erythropoietin (EPO) and growth hormones in an interview with reporters (video below), broadcast by Sportschau on Germany’s ARD. It is understood that this interview sparked investigations by Austrian and German police.

In 2014, Dürr was sanctioned with a two year ban after testing positive for EPO at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. It is understood that under the supervision of Dr. Mark Schmidt, Dürr continued to dope until the end of 2018.

‘NADA Austria filed a request against Johannes Dürr, born on 12.03.1987, for the imposition of precautionary measures in accordance with the regulations of the responsible (international) sports association, the FIS [international ski federation]’, read a statement (click here to download). ‘It is apparent from the documents annexed to this request that there is a definite suspicion that the defendant Johannes Dürr applied a prohibited method, namely method M1.1 – Manipulation of blood or blood components (“blood doping”). According to Art. 7.9.2 of the FIS Anti-Doping Rules 2016, in the case of a sufficiently concrete suspicion of the existence of an anti-doping rule violation, which is the case here, each athlete may be provisionally suspended.’

Olivier Rabin, Senior Director of Sciences and International Partnerships at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), defended its Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), after criticism suggested that it had failed to flag any of the nine athletes now implicated in investigations. “We have at least seven athletes identified”, Rabin told AFP at the WADA Symposium, which took place in Lausanne from 13-14 March. “These passports were not normal. Some had been identified as suspicious, others with strong presumptions of blood manipulation”. Rabin said that although the seven profiles had been flagged as suspicious, they did not have enough information to bring forward anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) without a positive test.

The athletes implicated in doping investigations now include Austrian skiers Dominik Baldauf, Max Hauke and Johannes Dürr; Estonian skiers Karel Tammjärv, Andreas Veerpalu, and Algo Kärp; Austrian cyclists Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler; and Kazakh skier Alexey Poltoranin. On Monday, the Estonian Prosecutor’s Office announced that it had opened proceedings against Estonian ski Coach Mati Alaver, in order to establish whether he had persuaded athletes to dope, and whether that constitutes a crime under Estonian law.

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