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Austria clamps down on sports doping

An unnamed cyclist and former Austrian Nordic ski coach Walter Mayer, who was involved in the 2006 Turin Olympics doping scandal, have been arrested in connection with new doping allegations, Vienna prosecutors said Monday. Mayer, who was arrested Sunday, is suspected of having provided a top Austrian cyclist with the banned blood booster EPO, prosecution spokesman Gerhard Jarosch said. The cyclist, who has not been named, was arrested on March 13 for trafficking.

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By Agence France Presse

An unnamed cyclist and former Austrian Nordic ski coach Walter Mayer, who was involved in the 2006 Turin Olympics doping scandal, have been arrested in connection with new doping allegations, Vienna prosecutors said Monday.

Mayer, who was arrested Sunday, is suspected of having provided a top Austrian cyclist with the banned blood booster EPO, prosecution spokesman Gerhard Jarosch said.

The cyclist, who has not been named, was arrested on March 13 for trafficking.

“He is suspected of providing doping substances that came from a pharmacist to third parties over a long period of time,” Jarosch told the Kurier newspaper on Friday.

The athlete, who is 32 years old, is one of “Austria’s top cyclists,” Kurier said. The Austria Press Agency only gave his initial “K.”

A Vienna pharmacist, who is suspected of providing the doping substances in the first place, was also arrested over the weekend, the prosecution said.

The cyclist’s arrest was the first ever of an athlete in Austria on doping allegations.

This was made possible by parliamentary action on August 8, which now calls for a five-year sentence for the possession and trafficking of doping substances. It was previously only deemed a minor offense.

Austria has come under criticism in recent years over its lax doping laws. In the latest case, 27-year-old Bernhard Kohl, the best climber at last year’s Tour de France and third overall, admitted in October to using CERA, a new
version of EPO.

Mayer, a former coach to the Austrian national Nordic ski team, was also implicated in the doping scandal at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, when police raided the Austrian biathlon and cross-country squads’ quarters, turning up drug paraphernalia and performance-enhancing drugs.