Operation Aderlass doctor faces five and a half year prison sentence as case draws to a close

There have also been developments in Operacion Puerto

Defendant Mark S. stands next to his lawyer Alexander Dann inside a courtroom in Munich on January 8, 2021 (Peter Kneffel/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The doctor at the centre of Operation Aderlass, Mark Schmidt, faces a five and a half year prison sentence as well as being banned from practicing medicine for five years.

That is the demand of the public prosecutors in Germany as the blood doping case, which implicated professional cyclists and skiers, draws to a close.

The ruling is expected on Friday January 15, with Schmidt having admitted to helping athletes blood dope since 2012, claiming to have wanted to help them from harming themselves by offering his professional expertise.

Operation Aderlass, the name given to the investigation that brought Schmidt's practices to light, saw pro riders such as Georg Preidler, Kristijan Koren, Stefan Denifl, Kristijan Durasek and Borut Bozic sanctioned, as well as Alessandro Petacchi.

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During Stefan Denifl's trial, his defence lawyer claimed "in cycling there is 90 per cent doping". The Austrian rider was handed a four-year ban from cycling alongside Preidler, the latter also being handed a suspended 12-month prison sentence.

The court is looking to impose such a severe sentence on Schmidt as it is the largest-ever doping case uncovered in Germany.

Meanwhile, Operacion Puerto, another doping investigation into Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes is also coming to an end.

Starting in May 2006, the case involved several world-famous cyclists and teams, with the proceeding decade seeing anti-doping authorities locked in a legal battle to publish the list of names linked to the scandal.

El Pais now reports that Fuentes declined to travel to Madrid last week in order to retrieve belongings seized from him in the investigation.

The Spanish newspaper lists a machine used to process blood, mobile phones, a blood bag sealer, 100 syringes, a small fridge and ten keys and two garage remote controls as among the items Fuentes has abandoned.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.