Operation bloodletting and cycling – Tour de France

“No new shocks for cycling”

The Austrian ex-professional cyclist Georg Preidler, who was named for most of his career today under a German license, had to answer in court Sunweb traveling World-Tour-Team spent, as well as the Swiss Pirmin Lang and the Austrian Stefan Denifl.

Preidler was sentenced to twelve months probation and a fine, Lang got away with a poor fine. Denifl’s trial will not continue until autumn with further fraud allegations. Like everyone else, he has already confessed to blood doping.

Allegedly there are even still active drivers who are also said to have worked with Schmidt. Sensational revelations are not expected in Munich, although the senior public prosecutor Kai Gräber speaks of the most spectacular case that he was allowed to work on in doping. Despite the 145-page strong indictment, Graves believes “not that such new information becomes known that could result in a new shock to cycling”, as he told the cycling magazine “tour”.

Traces to Slovenia

The investigators followed an important lead in the direction of Slovenia. In the course of Operation Aderlass, the two Slovenian professional cyclists Kristijan Koren and Borut Bozic, who was meanwhile active as a sports director, were also banned. There may be other connections to Slovenia. The French daily newspaper “The world“reported that a possible involvement of the Slovenian trainer and manager Milan Erzen was also being examined.

Ores play a central role in Slovenian cycling. Among other things, he built that World-Tour-Team Bahrain-Merida (now Bahrain-McLaren), for which Bozic worked as the sporting director. Erzen has always emphasized that he had nothing to do with the bloodletting affair. The FIA initiated a procedure to have the structures in Slovenian cycling checked. So far there are no results.

Roglic and Pogacar pledge to be clean

The connections of Operation Bloodletting to Slovenia also affect them Tour de France. After all, the two top riders on this tour, Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar, come from the small country. Neither is said to have any connection to the bloodletting affair, and neither has so far been suspicious of doping. On the other hand, the Slovenian cycling scene is of course closely interwoven in the country with almost two million inhabitants.

Erzen is considered to be the discoverer of Roglic, who is currently wearing the yellow jersey through France. In his early days as a professional cyclist, Roglic rode for the Adria-Mobil team, which was then led by Erzen. Now he has to ask himself critical questions – just like any driver who Tour de France leading. “I’m clean, you can trust me. I have nothing to hide”, said is.

Many connections in little Slovenia

Pogacar drives for that UAE-Team. His closest confidante is Andrej Hauptman, the Slovenian national coach and at times the sports director of Pogacar’s team. Hauptman was excluded before the tour started in 2000 because his hematocrit value was over 50 percent. Which back then – when the substance was not yet detectable – as an indication of EPO-Doping wrong.

Like Roglic, Pogacar asserts that he will use his own strength to drive his attacks in the steep passages. “Anyone you ask will say, I’m clean. Everyone needs to know for themselves”says Pogacar. “I’ve always been an obedient student – in every way. I’ve got a clean slate.”


Stand: 15.09.2020, 15:00

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