UAE Team Emirates considering legal action against Kristijan Đurasek

The Croatian has been banned for four years over his links with the Operation Aderlass doping scandal

UAE Team Emirates says they are considering legal action against Kristijan Đurasek after the rider was banned for four years for doping.

Đurasek is the latest rider to be sanctioned over the Operation Aderlass blood doping scandal, as the Croatian was handed a four-year ban by the UCI on Tuesday (November 13).

UAE Team Emirates have now confirmed the rider has been fired and that the outfit’s lawyers are considering legal action to recover damages.

A statement from the team said: “UAE Team Emirates has been informed of the four-year ban handed down to Kristijan Đurasek for his involvement in Operation Aderlass.

“In accordance with the internal policy of the team, the contract of the rider has been terminated with immediate effect.

“At present, the team’s lawyers are reviewing options regarding compensation for damages.”

Đurasek, 32, is the latest rider to be sanctioned following the police blood doping investigation, which has also seen Bahrain-Merida rider Kristijan Koren and sports director Borut Božič banned from the sport for two years.

The rider, who has the right to appeal to his national anti-doping authority or the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), rode for Lampre-Merida in 2016, before joining UAE Team Emirates the following year.

His only victory during that period was stage two of the Tour of Croatia in 2017.

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 Kristijan Koren was pulled from the Giro by his team, while Đurasek 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.

Koren was sanctioned for using a prohibited method or substance in 2011 and 2012, while riding for Liquigas-Cannondale, while Božič was banned for an anti-doping violation in 2012 during his time with Astana.

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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