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Pfannberger named in HumanPlasma investigation

Christian Pfannberger has been handed a life-time ban after multiple doping offences.

Christian Pfannberger has been handed a life-time ban after multiple doping offences. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Former pro cyclist Christian Pfannberger is the first athlete to be named in the Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency's (NADA) investigation of those allegedly involved with illegal blood-doping at HumanPlasma. Pfannberger has already received a life-long ban last November after twice testing positive for prohibited substances.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the NADA says that it has evidence that Pfannberger, "on the premises of the company Humanplasma GmbH, repeatedly had blood drawn for the purpose of doping in sport." In addition, it said, it is further alleged that he was involved in “providing forbidden substances to other athletes.”

Pfannberger, 30, first tested positive for testosterone in 2004 at the Austrian national championships and was suspended for two years. Last year, while riding for Team Katusha, he was found positive for EPO at an out-of-competition control in March, and received a lifetime ban for the second violation. He has consistently denied ever having used doping products or methods.

He turned professional with Team Nürnberger Versicherung in 2002 and rode for Volksbank, eD'system-ZVVZ, Elk Haus and Barloworld, before joining Katusha in 2009. Pfannberger was Austrian national road champion in 2007 and 2008.

Earlier this week the Austrian NADA had announced that it was investigating up to 20 athletes and trainers for their involvement with an illegal blood doping ring through HumanPlasma GmbH. The Dutch NADA has said that three former athletes from the Netherlands were under investigation and that, "cyclists play an important role in the dossier."

HumanPlasma was involved in blood transfusions for athletes between 2003 to 2006. Stefan Matschiner, the one-time manager of former-Gerolsteiner rider Bernhard Kohl is alleged to be a central figure in the investigation. Kohl admitted to his role in the scandal after he tested positive for CERA in the 2008 Tour de France.

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