Austrians call for doping to be criminalised

A day after the news that Austrian cycling national champion Christian Pfannberger failed an out-of-competition dope test, the Austrian Cycling Federation has called for doping to be criminalised in the country.

Pfannberger’s positive for an undisclosed banned substance comes on the back of several high-profile doping scandals to have rocked Austria in recent months.

“It’s totally clear that the current degree of penalty is not sufficient,” Austrian Cycling Federation president Otto Flum is quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Flum is requesting that any athlete who tests positive for a banned substance be subjected to criminal proceedings. “If there were another solution, we would support it, but I don’t see any other option,” Flum said.

The recent run of Austrian doping cases started in November, when news broke that Bernhard Kohl failed a test for CERA, a new form of EPO, at the 2008 Tour de France. Kohl had won the King of the Mountains competition, and later admitted to using CERA to enhance his performance. He was subsequently banned for two years.

In March, Kohl’s former manager Stefan Matschiner was arrested in relation to supplying doping products to Kohl and other Austrian athletes. It is currently against the law in Austria to supply doping products, but not to use them.


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