24 February 2020

Pirmin Lang retires after being implicated in Operation Aderlass

Swiss cyclist Pirmin Lang has retired from professional road cycling after admitting involvement in the Operation Aderlass blood doping network, following enquiries from Swiss journalists. ‘I cheated through my professional career’, wrote Lang in a Twitter statement (below). ‘I was part of the “Aderlass” network. I lied and am responsible for my actions. I regret it.’

Anti-doping Switzerland confirmed that it is investigating Lang alongside criminal prosecutors from the Canton of Aargau. They are investigating the cyclist, who competed for IAM Cycling from 2013-16, for alleged violations of Article 22 paragraph 1 of the Sports Promotion Act, read a statement. This provides criminal penalties of up to three years or a fine for anyone involved in doping. Anti-doping Switzerland said that it is also examining separate disciplinary proceedings under the Statutes of the Swiss Olympic Committee. The Swiss Racing Academy, which Lang founded, announced his ‘immediate departure’ via Instagram (below).

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Nine cyclists have been implicated in Operation Aderlass, a criminal investigation into the customers of Dr. Mark Schmidt, which began a year ago with the arrest of nine people at the Nordic Skiing World Championships in Seefeld, Austria. They are Lang; Kristijan Đurasek, Kristijan Koren, and Alessandro Pettachi; two unnamed German cyclists; Stefan Denifl; Georg Preidler; and Christina Kollmann-Forstner. Three cycling coaches have also been implicated: Borut Bozic; Patrick Van Gansen; and Danilo Hondo. It is understood that the total number of athletes implicated in Operation Aderlass is approaching 30.

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