Austrian blood doping case reveals more cyclists

Austrian Bernhard Kohl

Austrian Bernhard Kohl (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

A report from the Austrian blood-doping investigation revealed more cyclists and details of a rental apartment, according to newspapers Oberösterreichische Nachrichten and De Telegraaf. Investigators received help from Bernhard Kohl, who tested positive for drugs after the 2008 Tour de France.

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Kohl finished third and won the mountains classification at the 2008 Tour de France. Further blood testing showed he used CERA, the third generation of blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO).

The Austrian federal police, Bundeskriminalamt, used Kohl's confession and the evidence it gathered from a previous investigation into the HumanPlasma blood bank to reveal a suspected doping-ring.

The 12-page report confirms Kohl's statement that he, Michael Rasmussen and Austrian cross-country skier Christian Hoffman paid for a blood centrifuge, said the newspapers. The three athletes also jointly paid the rent for a one-room apartment in Linz, Austria, Oberösterreichische (OÖN) quoted from the report.

Stefan Matschiner, Kohl's former manager, helped organise the doping. The report says that the apartment was rented from August to November 2008, with the lease signed by Matschiner's wife, said the newspapers. Kohl claimed that he had a blood transfusion there in September.

Matschiner claimed that he disposed of the centrifuge on August 2, and investigators suspect him of transporting it to Slovenia. Austria passed a new anti-doping law on August 1, 2008, that made doping a criminal offence.

The report names also names Dutchmen Thomas Dekker, Michael Boogerd and Italian Pietro Caucchioli as under suspicion of having received transfusions, according to OÖN.

One of Matschiner's employees in the spring of 2008 delivered two packages to an "unknown person" in Germany, according to OÖN. Dutch De Telegraaf said that this involved Kohl's former teammate Markus Zberg buying 24,000 units of EPO-CERA.

The report details Kohl's doping used while he rode for The Netherlands' Rabobank developmental team from 2000 to 2003. It said that he was involved with blood doping at least three times in 2005, when he was riding for T-Mobile Team, according to De Telegraaf.

All of the athletes involved, except for Kohl, have consistently denied all charges and any involvement in the matter. Kohl confessed to his role and cooperated with authorities in the continuing investigation.

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