UCI request anti-doping samples from 2016 and 2017 be re-tested in wake of Operation Aderlass scandal

A number of WorldTour riders have already been banned over revelations of blood doping in elite sport

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

The UCI has requested that anti-doping samples from 2016 and 2017 be re-tested in the wake of the Operational Aderlass scandal.

Cycling’s international governing body has asked the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) to examine old samples in light of information and documents received from Austrian law enforcement authorities over blood doping in elite sport.

Operation Aderlass, initially a police investigation into doping in endurance skiing, hit professional cycling after WorldTour riders and staff were implicated in the scandal, resulting in the UCI handing out a number of bans.

A statement from the UCI, released on Wednesday (November 27), said: “In light of information and documents received from Austrian law enforcement authorities in the Aderlass affair, the UCI announces that it has asked the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation to proceed with necessary reanalysis of samples taken during the 2016 and 2017 samples.

“During the Aderlass investigation, and thanks to close collaboration between the UCI and Austrian authorities, several procedures have been initiated for anti-doping rule violation. Several individuals, most of them active at the highest level, have now been sanctioned.

“The UCI would like to thank all the authorities working on this investigation and will continue to work closely with the parties concerned with the aim of protecting honest athletes and guaranteeing a clean sport.”

So far, six figures from professional cycling have been banned over their links to the Austrian and German blood doping ring.

In May, the blood doping scandal hit the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of California after the UCI published four names believed to be connected with the case.

Slovenian Bahrain-Merida rider Kristijan Koren was pulled from the Giro 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 Božič and retired Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi.

In August, 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.

Then in October, 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.

The bans are the result of Operation Aderlass, a police investigation into blood doping in the Nordic skiing World Championships in Seefeld, Austria.

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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 and it soon emerged that top tier cyclists were also involved. Former Groupama-FDJ rider Georg Preidler and former Aqua Blue Sport rider Stefan Denifl have both been banned from the sport for four years and face charges of commercially serious sports fraud. Preidler’s ban is provisional as he is contesting the case.

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