Austrian cyclist Stefan Denifl was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison for “aggravated sports fraud” as part of his involvement in Operation Aderlass. Of the two-year sentence, 16 months will be served while on probation.
The Innsbruck Regional Court also levied a €349,000 fine on the cyclist who was implicated in the Aderlass affair in 2019.
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Denifl, 33, and his attorneys have three days to lodge an appeal.
As a result of Denifl’s involvement as well as failing doping controls, some of his results were vacated including his win on stage 17 of the 2017 Vuelta a España.
“I wanted to get to my old level, but without doping that wouldn’t work”, Denifl said previously. “I am not a criminal. I have used doping because performance is expected in cycling that cannot be delivered without using doping. I couldn’t have gotten a contract without doping.”
Denifl was previously suspended for four years for his part in facilitating the distribution of illicit performance-enhancing products to cross-country skiers and cyclists.
Racing with Vacansoleil-DCM, Leopard Trek, and IAM Cycling in the latter part of his career, Denifl has denied committing any fraud and maintains that he has fulfilled all his contractual obligations.
However, the Innsbruck prosecutor’s office maintains that Denifl abused sponsors by devoting some funds to purchases of illicit substances, mainly growth hormones. Denifl was also accused of concealing funds prior to his trial, however, he was eventually acquitted of this allegation.
A five and a half year prison sentence was handed to German doctor Mark Schmidt, who was at the center of Operation Aderlass, reports Wielerflits. The local prosecutors also recommend that Schmidt should be banned from practicing medicine for a period of five years. A Munich court is expected to deliver a ruling on this case later this week.