Georg Preidler has been spared jail after admitting his involvement in the Operation Aderlass blood doping ring.
The former Groupama-FDJ rider has appeared in court in Austria for sentencing after he was banned by the UCI for his involvement in the doping scandal, Esslinger Zeitung in Austria reports. (opens in new tab)
Preidler, 30, was accused of defrauding his team after blood doping and regularly taking growth hormones from the 2017 Giro d’Italia up until he left Groupama in early 2019.
The Innsbruck Regional Court found him guilty of sporting fraud, sentencing him to a 12-month suspended sentence and fining him €2,880 (£2,600).
Preidler previously admitted blood doping, but denies ever taking any performance enhancing substance.
After transferring from Sunweb to Groupama-FDJ for the 2018 season, Preidler then quit his team in March 2019 as he admitted having blood extracted.
He was caught up in the Operation Aderlass case, initially an Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office investigation in to blood doping in endurance skiing as part of a ring allegedly run by German doctor Mark Schmidt.
Raids by police in February 2019 threw up evidence linking cyclists to the scandal.
The court previously heard that Preidler had received and used syringes from a “dodgy figure,” without knowing what substance he was taking.
He denies taking banned substances and said: “The effect was not noticeable for me, which is why I soon lost interest.”
The court heard it was after using these syringes he came into contact with doctor Mark Schmidt at the end of 2017, which resulted in him starting to blood dope.
Preidler told the court he became involved in blood doping “out of pure curiosity.”
Another unnamed cyclist has also been fined €6,000 for acting as the middle-man between Preidler and the man who supplied Preidler with banned substances.
A number of cross-country skiers have already been jailed for their involvement in the blood doping ring
Schmidt is due to stand trial in Munich in September.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. 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.
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