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An unfolding doping scandal in Austria this week involving Nordic skiers has extended its reach into the peloton.
According to reports in the Austrian media over the weekend, Austrian ex-pro Stefan Denifl has confessed to blood doping after being detained by local authorities. He could be charged with sporting fraud and face jail time, Austria media reported.
Police say he admitted to blood doping in the latest turn of events that is a broiling Austrian sport, ORF reported. Authorities have uncovered a blood doping ring involving several top cross-country skiers during raids at the Nordic world championships concluding Sunday in Seefeld, Austria.
Several skiers were arrested, including a German doctor linked to the former Gerolsteiner team, which was involved in a blood doping scandal in 2008. There was no comment Sunday from Denifl or the Austrian cycling federation.
Denifi had a 13-year professional career with stints at Leopard-Trek, Vanconsoliel, IAM Cycling and Aqua Blue Sport. Denifl’s admission comes to light following his sudden exit from a deal he had with CCC Team in December.
A talented climber, Denifl won a stage at the 2017 Vuelta a España, the overall at the 2017 Tour of Austria, and the best climbers jersey at the 2015 Tour de Suisse. He was looking for a job following the closure of Aqua Blue last fall.
Denifl looked to have secured his future with CCC Team, only to abruptly pull out of the deal citing “personal reasons.” Austrian reports suggest that Denifl might have already been under police pressure when he short-circuited the CCC deal.
The drama began this week when Austrian investigators raided a blood doping ring during the Nordic world championships. Acting on tips, police raided a training house and even caught one athlete in the middle of a blood transfusion.