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Austrian cyclist arrested for dealing in doping products

By:
Gregor Brown
Published:
March 21, 2009, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 18:13 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, March 21, 2009
Italian Damiano Cunego previews 2009 Giro d'Italia stages

Italian Damiano Cunego previews 2009 Giro d'Italia stages

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An Austrian cyclist has become the first athlete to be arrested in the country for dealing in doping...

An Austrian cyclist has become the first athlete to be arrested in the country for dealing in doping products. The case is said to involve EPO and testosterone.

The name of the rider was not released, but according to the Kurier newspaper, it is a 32-year-old who rides on the national level, in which he is highly ranked.

Public prosecutor Gerhard Jarosch confirmed to the Kurier that "the gentleman is in custody". He added that the rider is suspected of obtaining doping material from a pharmacist and passing it on to others, over an extended period of time. If found guilty, he could face up to five years imprisonment.

According to oe24.at, the case concerns extensive dealing with EPO and testosterone. The website quotes Jarosch as saying, "This isn't just about a few pills, but a lot more."

The pharmacist was also arrested, but according to oe24.at, the two arrests "are just the tip of the iceberg", with "numerous athletes from many sports" involved.

Otto Flum, the president of the Österreichischer Radsport Verband (ÖRV, national federation), noted that the arrest did not stem from a doping control "but in an action by the Kriminalpolizei (federal police)," and the ÖRV is not in any way involved.

"Apparently we still have in our ranks incorrigible, stupid athletes, who continue to throw us back in our fight against doping," Flum continued. "This case surely does not help our sport, and especially the races, the teams and everyone involved."

Cunego to lead Lampre-NGC at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali

Damiano Cunego will return to racing at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali from March 24 to 28. The Lampre-NGC rider will be there with the teammates who accompanied him during his recent training on Tenerife Island: Marco Marzano, Mauro Santambrogio and Paolo Tiralongo. Pietro Caucchioli, Francesco Gavazzi, Andrea Grendene and Volodymyr Zagorodniy will also be racing.

"Coppi e Bartali will be interesting for us form many reasons," said Assistant Manager Brent Copeland.

"First of all, we'll evaluate how the team works together with an eye toward the Ardennes Classics coming up, and we'll check our form in the time trial."

"As for Cunego, it will be important to see his fitness after his recent high altitude training - something Damiano has never done before."

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