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Austrian cyclist Georg Preidler, caught up in last year’s blood doping scandal, has been given a 12-month suspended sentence for sports fraud, a court ruled Wednesday.
The Austrian anti-doping agency last year banned Preidler, together with fellow Austrian cyclist Stefan Denifl, for four years, following the duo’s provisional suspensions by cycling’s world governing body the UCI.
The regional court in Innsbruck ordered the suspended sentence for Preidler, who also has to pay 2,880 euros ($3,330) as a penalty. Prosecutors have accused Preidler of practising blood doping and using growth hormones from March 2017 to March 2019, defrauding 286,000 euros in sponsorship and other income.
The 30-year-old had pleaded partially guilty during the trial. Preidler and the prosecution can still appeal the verdict. Preidler and Denifl were among the first sportspeople last year to receive bans following a spectacular police raid at the Nordic World Skiing Championships in the Austrian resort of Seefeld in February, 2019.
The operation led to the dismantling of a doping ring, allegedly organized by German doctor Mark Schmidt, who was also arrested.
The network supplied doping products to more than 20 athletes, particularly cross-country skiers and cyclists, from several European countries, according to the German investigators in charge of the “Aderlass” probe. “Aderlass” is German for “blood letting”.