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Austrian Olympic cyclist Georg Preidler quits Groupama team over blood doping

Austrian cyclist Georg Preidler has admitted to blood doping linked to a case in which five skiers were arrested, his professional team Groupama-FDJ said Monday.

9 people, including 5 cross-country skiers, arrested last week

Austria's Georg Preidler admitted Monday to blood doping linked to a case in which five skiers were arrested last week and immediately resigned from professional cycling team Groupama-FDJ. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images/File)

Austrian cyclist Georg Preidler has admitted to blood doping linked to a case in which five skiers were arrested, his professional team Groupama-FDJ said Monday from Vienna.

Preidler offered "his immediate and spontaneous resignation, justified by his inexcusable involvement" in the doping case, Groupama-FDJ said. He had allegedly undergone "blood collection" procedures twice last year.

The team said it had informed the International Cycling Union, French law enforcement and the French anti-doping agency.

"The UCI does not have any first-hand information concerning confessions made by cyclists," the Switzerland-based governing body said in a statement.

However, the cycling body said it asked its independent investigators to exchange information with Austrian authorities and the World Anti-Doping Agency to advance each other's cases.

16th in time trial at 2016 Olympics

Authorities in Austria previously said Sunday that another rider had admitted to doping and was suspected of sports fraud in connection with the case. That rider wasn't named under Austrian privacy laws.

Austrian and German police arrested nine people last week, including five cross-country skiers at the world championships and a German doctor. Austrian authorities said they had disrupted an "international doping ring" with involvement in multiple sports. One skier was arrested part-way through a blood transfusion.

Preidler has raced in eight Grand Tours, including twice at the Tour de France, and took part in the Giro d'Italia and Spanish Vuelta last season. He was 16th for Austria in the time trial at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The doctor at the centre of the case is Mark Schmidt, who worked for the Gerolsteiner cycling team around the time Austrian rider Bernhard Kohl was stripped of his third place and the polka-dot jersey for best climber at the 2008 Tour de France for doping.

Schmidt, who was arrested in Erfurt, where he has a medical practice, has denied wrongdoing.

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