Former road cyclist Christina Kollmann-Forstner suspended by UCI over links to blood doping ring

Austrian authorities passed information to the governing body

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Former road cyclist and mountain bike rider Christina Kollmann-Forstner has been suspended by the UCI over suspected links with the Operation Aderlass blood doping scandal.

The Austrian rider has been notified of a potential anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) after authorities from her country passed information to the UCI.

Kollmann-Forstner has previously ridden both on and off road, but the latest results available online are mountain bike races in September last year.

A statement from the UCI, released on Wednesday evening (May 29) said: “[We have] notified Austrian rider Christina Kollmann-Forstner of potential anti-doping rule violations (use of prohibited method and possession of prohibited method) based on information received from the law enforcement authorities of Austria in the content of the Operation Aderlass.

“After review of all elements in its possession, the UCI has decided to provisionally suspend the rider with immediate effect.”

The 31-year-old had previously ridden for the No Radunion Vitalogic team and raced the Austrian national championships on the road.

Her last road results available online are from 2013.

Kollmann-Forstner is the latest cyclist linked with Operation Aderlass, a police investigation into blood doping in the Nordic skiing world championships in Seefeld, Austria.

Police raided 16 properties and arrested nine people earlier this year during operations in Seefeld and Erfurt, Germany, and 40 blood bags were seized in the process.

A number of skiers were arrested, alongside German doctor Mark Schmidt who was linked to the former Gerolsteiner cycling team.

Gerolsteiner folded in 2008 after a number of doping scandals.

The first cyclist implicated in the scandal was Austrian former Aqua Blue Sport rider Stefan Denifl, who police encountered while investigating Dr Schmidt.

Groupama-FDJ rider and fellow Austrian Georg Preidler then quit his team shortly after, admitting that he had extracted blood to be re-infused at a later date.

Both riders are provisionally suspended by the UCI.

Then during the Giro d’Italia and Tour of California, the UCI published four more names believed to be connected with the case.

Bahrain-Merida rider Kristijan Koren has been pulled from the Giro, while Kristijan Durasek (UAE Team Emirates) did not continue in California after both were provisionally suspended by cycling’s governing body.

The UCI said it has been notified of potential anti-doping rule violations (ADRV) by both riders, a sports director, and retired Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi.

Durasek and Koren were both named alongside Bahrain-Merida assistant sports director Borut Božič and Petacchi.

Petacchi denied any wrongdoing.