Doctor at centre of Operation Aderlass doping scandal jailed by German court 

Mark Schmidt was guilty of doping 23 athletes, including riders from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España 

(Image credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The doctor at the centre of the Operation Aderlass doping scandal has been jailed by a German court.

Mark Schmidt had been found guilty of 24 counts of using doping methods and two cases of putting drugs on the market without authorisation and was sentenced on Friday (January 15) by the Regional Court of Munich.  

The German doctor has been jailed for four years and 10 months for running a blood doping ring that involved 23 athletes from eight countries, including cyclists from the 2018 Tour de France, the 2016 and 2018 Giro d’Italia, and the 2017 Vuelta a España, as well as endurance skiers. 

Schmidt was also fined €158,000 (£140,000), according to Eurosport Germany, while four co-defendants avoided jail and were given probation sentences and fines. 

The Operation Aderlass investigation centres around police raids at the Nordic World Skiiing Championships in February in Seefeld, Austria, which resulted in the arrest of five endurance skiiing athletes. .

Schmidt emerged as the central figure in the operation and the scandal soon hit the cycling world when in March 2019 former Aqua Blue Sport rider Stefan Denifl confessed to blood doping under Schmidt’s supervision

Georg Preidler, a Groupama-FDJ rider at the time, then confessed to having blood extracted on two occasions by Schmidt in 2018. 

Both Denifl and Preidler have been banned from the sport by the UCI and were both charged with sporting fraud for misleading their teams. 

Preidler was given a suspended sentence and fined, while Denifl was jailed for two years earlier this week, with 16 months of his sentence being suspended.  

In May last year, the UCI published also four names believed to be connected with the case as Slovenian Bahrain-Merida rider Kristijan Koren was pulled from the Giro d’Italia by his team, while Kristijan Đurasek from UAE Team Emirates was removed from the Tour of California over the revelations.

Also named were Bahrain-Merida assistant sports director Borut Božič and retired Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi.

Petacchi was given a two-year ban for doping violations dating back to 2012 and 2013, and was stripped of his results from that period.

>>> Stefan Denifl jailed over Operation Aderlass blood doping 

Then in October 2019, Koren and his compatriot Božič were banned for two years each and were fired by Bahrain-Merida while Đurasek was banned for four years in November 2019.

Last September, Schmidt went on trial in Munich charged with multiple doping offences, which resulted in his sentence on Friday. 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.