Four professional cyclists were recently suspended for suspected doping violations, according to the International Cycling Union (UCI). The suspensions come as part of the ongoing “Operation Aderlass” investigation, an inquiry led by Austrian authorities focusing on blood doping rings.
Authorities flagged current competitor Kristijan Koren (Slovenia) as well as retired riders Alessandro Petacchi (Italy) and Borut Bozic (Slovenia) for potential violations occurring during the 2012-2013 season. The investigation into Croatia’s Kristijan Durasek focuses on the 2017 season.
The inquiry by Austrian police known as Operation Aderlass previously investigated 21 athletes from five different sports worldwide. Coordinating with the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation and the UCI, Operation Aderlass has looked into blood doping activities going as far back as 2011.
Athletes involved are accused of having blood transfusions to increase stamina and improve performance. Authorities suspect such transfusions have been carried out all over the world, including in Hawaii, South Korea, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Teams sticking to zero-tolerance policies
Both Team Bahrain Merida and UAE Team Emirates indicated that, if the accusations prove to be accurate, the members of their organizations named in the investigation face immediate termination. Bozic, who retired from riding last year, is currently Assistant Sports Director for Team Bahrain Merida.
UAE Team Emirates released a statement on the investigation, saying: “The Team hopes that Durasek can prove he was not involved in the affair. Should it be proven otherwise, he will be terminated immediately.”
With so much on the line, athletes facing a doping charge need expert guidance. In many cases, the best course of action is to consult with a lawyer who truly understands the issues they face.