Stefan Denifl is the second rider charged with professional fraud in Operation Aderlass blood doping case

The former Aqua Blue Sport rider was arrested and admitted using banned practices

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Stefan Denifl is the second rider to be charged with fraud in the wake of the Operation Aderlass blood doping ring.

Denifl, a former Aqua Blue Sport rider, was arrested as part of the police operation investigating a doping ring in endurance skiing and reportedly admitted using banned practices.

The Austrian has now been charged with professional fraud by prosecutors in Innsbruck, a week after his compatriot Georg Preidler was also charged for his involvement in the blood doping ring, Austrian newspaper Kurier reports.

Denifl is accused of practicing blood doping and using growth hormones between 2014 and 2018, with the prosecutor suspecting that €500,000 (£441,000) of damaged may have been caused to his sponsors, the UCI and race organisers.

Last week, former Groupama-FDJ rider Georg Preidler was charged with professional fraud, having already admitted his involvement in the Operation Aderlass doping ring.

The Austrian quit his Groupama-FDJ team in March after he was implicated in the long-running doping scheme.

Both Preidler and Denifl have already been banned from the sport for four years by the UCI, while Preidler has been accused by the public prosecutor of blood doping and using growth hormones from the 2017 Giro d’Italia up until this year. Preidler’s ban is provisional as he is contesting the case.

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Preidler quit his team after admitting he had extracted blood but denies re-infusing it, while Denifl reportedly confessed to police that he had doped.

Both riders were caught up in the Operation Aderlass case, initially an Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office investigation in to blood doping in endurance skiing.

Raids by police in February 2019 threw up evidence linking cyclists to the scandal.

Denifl, 32, rode for IAM Cycling from 2013 until 2017 when he joined Aqua Blue Sport.

That year he took the biggest victory of his career on stage 17 of the Vuelta a España, a result that has now been stripped because as part of his UCI ban.

After the collapse of Aqua Blue Sport, Denifl signed with Polish WorldTour outfit CCC Team, but a month before he was due to start racing the team announced that Denifl would be leaving by mutual agreement due to personal reasons.

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