FRASCATI, Italy (VN) — The scope of an ongoing blood doping investigation in Austria and Germany has touched cycling yet again.

The cycling governing body Wednesday named four current and retired riders with links to the so-called Operation Aderlass that broke this winter. Three have been provisionally suspended for alleged infractions dating back to 2012 and 2013, the other for 2017.

Two active riders are Kristijan Koren (Bahrain-Merida) and Kristijan Durasek (UAE-Emirates), while two retired riders are Alessandro Petacchi, now a commentator for Italian TV RAI during this Giro d’Italia, and Borut Bozic, assistant sport director at Bahrain-Merida.

Petacchi, Koren and Borut were cited for “use of prohibitive method” during a period from 2011 and 2012. Durasek was cited for 2017.

This latest wave of suspensions comes just days after ex-pro Danilo Hondo admitted to blood doping with doctors linked to the Aderlass investigation.

Raids in February first appeared to be centered on athletes from Nordic skiing, but its scope soon expanded to cycling. Georg Preidler and Stefan Denifl confessed to blood doping once the news broke.

The UCI did not reveal what products or methods were cited in the anti-doping violations.

Petacchi denied the allegations in Italian media on Wednesday and UAE-Emirates issued a statement.

“Following the Team’s internal policy and the information received from the UCI, the athlete has been suspended, effective immediately, as we follow developments in the case,” it read.

“The Team hopes that Durasek can prove he was not involved in the affair. Should it be proven otherwise, he will be terminated immediately.”

Durasek’s suspension immediately follows the withdrawal of team mate Juan Molano from the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday after internal controls flagged up ‘unusual results’.

The UCI said that the organisation and its anti-doping arm, CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation), have been working closely with Austrian and German authorities. The full statement is shown below.

Based on information received from the law enforcement authorities of Austria, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has notified the following individuals of potential Anti-Doping Rules Violations (ADRV):

The UCI has also provisionally suspended the above-mentioned individuals pursuant to Article 7.9.3 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.

The UCI and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI to define and lead the anti-doping testing strategy and investigations in our sport, have been in close contact with the sport and state authorities involved in the Aderlass investigation, in particular with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Austrian law enforcement authorities.

The UCI and the CADF, will continue to cooperate with and assist all parties involved in these investigations but, in view of the nature of the ongoing investigation, will not make any further comment at this stage.

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