Stefan Denifl jailed over Operation Aderlass blood doping 

The former Aqua Blue Sport rider has been sentenced for defrauding teams by blood doping 

Stefan Denifl has been jailed over his involvement in the Operation Aderlass blood doping scandal. 

The Austrian former pro has already been banned from the sport for blood doping between 2014 and 2018, but has now been sentenced by a criminal court for defrauding his teams by using banned methods, Tirol.orf.at reports. 

Denifl, who previously raced for IAM Cycling and Aqua Blue Sport, has now been sentenced to two years in prison by the Innsbruck Regional Court for serious commercial fraud, with 16 months of his sentence being suspended.  

The 33-year-old rider admitted blood doping but denied the fraud charges, claiming he always fulfilled his contracts. 

But the judge said that Denifl would not have been hired by his former teams if they had been aware of his doping, and he therefore would not have been paid. 

He was also fined €349,000 (£311,000). 

Denifl was implicated in Operation Aderlass, a police investigation into blood doping in Germany and Austria that originated in endurance skiing and eventually hit the cycling world.

Raids by police in February 2019 threw up evidence linking cyclists to the scandal, with Denifl reportedly confessing to police that he had used the prohibited method after being arrested. Denifl was not riding with a team at the time, having stepped away from a contract with CCC Team in December 2018 for “personal reasons.”

Fellow Austrian Georg Preidler also quit WorldTour team Groupama-FDJ in March 2019 after he too was implicated in the long-running doping scheme which has seen a number of other riders and former professionals banned. 

Both Preidler and Denifl have been banned for four years by the UCI.

Preidler 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.

In July last year, the Innsbruck Regional Court found Preidler 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.

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.

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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.