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Operation Aderlass Cyclist admits to blood doping

man riding bike in mud

Sullied: the career of Pirmin Lang, pictured here in 2017 at the Red Bull Velodux Cyclocross relay race in Estavayer-le-Lac, Switzerland

(© Keystone / Anthony Anex)

A Swiss cycling professional has resigned after confessing to his participation in the Aderlass doping network.

Pirmin Lang is the seventh cyclist to be exposed in the international scandal. He resigned from his job as director of the Swiss Racing Academyexternal link after being contacted by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), a Swiss newspaper.

Lang issued his announcement and apology via Twitter on Friday night:

The Sunday edition of NZZexternal link reported that a German sports doctor had helped Lang, along with several others, cheat via blood doping in 2015 and 2016. Lang competed for IAM Cycling from 2013-2016.

He co-founded the Swiss Racing Academy in 2019 to foster young local talent. Lang said he wanted to protect these beginners from the wrongdoings he had witnessed and experienced during his own professional racing career: "The negative pressure, the bad influences, the performance at any price".

Other cyclists implicated in the scandal have been fired or banned for two or four years.

Operation Aderlass (German for "bloodletting") first made headlines at the Nordic World Ski Championships last winter. 

Danilo Hondo, the ex-coach of Swiss Cycling, was also a part of this network. He was fired from coaching the Swiss national team in May 2019 following his confession to doping. 

Blood doping is when an athlete boosts performance by injecting more red blood cells into the bloodstream.

Clean sport Swiss firm stops making anti-doping kits

The World Anti-Doping Agency is looking for alternatives now that a Swiss company has ceased production of bottles to collect urine and blood samples.

This content was published on March 11, 2018 5:46 PM


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