March 4, 2019 / 10:51 AM / 4 months ago

Cycling: Austrian Preidler admits to doping amid investigation

FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Road - Final - Men's Individual Time Trial - Pontal - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 10/08/2016. Georg Preidler (AUT) of Austria competes. REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Austrian cyclist Georg Preidler on Monday admitted to cheating amid an investigation into blood doping that brought down five skiers at the Nordic skiing world championships last week.

Preidler, who was part of the French elite team Groupama-FDJ, told the Kronen newspaper that he could not ‘live with this secret any longer’ after skiers from Austria, Kazakhstan and Estonia were arrested last Wednesday in anti-doping raids in the Austrian resort of Seefeld.

Preidler had now left Groupama-FDJ, the French outfit said in a statement on Monday, adding that the rider, who joined in 2018, had admitted having ‘blood taken’ that year.

The raids were part of a broader operation targeting a Germany-based criminal organization suspected of having carried out blood doping for years.

A 40-year-old sports doctor was believed to be at the center of the organization, police said last week.

“I made a doping confession (to the police),” the 28-year-old Preidler, a triple time-trial national champion, said.

Preidler, however, said that some of his best results, such as a third-place finish in a Giro d’Italia mountain stage in 2016, had been achieved clean.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon

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