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Anti-doping samples from 2017 Tour de France retested in light of Operation Aderlass information

Anti-Doping Control sign
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Anti-doping samples from the 2017 Tour de France are being retested in light of information obtained during the Operation Aderlass blood doping inquiry, Het Nieuwsblad has reported.

The UCI already announced last November that it had requested the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) to reanalyse samples from the 2016 and 2017 seasons after receiving information from Austrian law enforcement authorities during the Aderlass inquiry.

Het Nieuwsblad now reports that the retesting is focused on an unnamed doping product of American origin, with a particular emphasis on the analysis of samples from the 2017 Tour.

“On the basis of additional information [...] we have identified the relevant samples and carried out the first analyses. We refrain from commenting further,” a CADF spokesperson told Het Nieuwsblad.

The reanalysis of the samples from 2016 and 2017 is reportedly taking place in the laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria and in Cologne, Germany.

“At that time, there were a number of banned substances that were not available on the regular pharmaceutical market and for which there were no optimal detection methods in the labs. In the meantime, those methods have been improved,” Peter Van Eenoo of the Ghent anti-doping laboratory told Het Nieuwsblad.

Eight professional riders have already been implicated in the Aderlass doping inquiry, which entered the public domain when Austrian police performed raids on the Nordic World Ski Championships in Seefeld in Tirol in February 2019.

German police subsequently arrested doctor Mark Schmidt, formerly the team doctor at Gerolsteiner and Milram, following a raid of his clinic in Erfurt. Schmidt remains in custody ahead of a trial later this year. Thus far, riders from six countries – Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy – have been implicated in the inquiry into the doping network.

Stefan Denifl, Georg Preidler, Pirmin Lang and Danilo Hondo have all confessed to doping, while Alessandro Petacchi, Kristijan Durasek, Kristijan Koren and Borut Bozic have also received bans for the use of prohibited methods or substances as a result of the Operation Aderlass inquiry.