(Reuters) – Four European cyclists, including two retired riders, have been provisionally suspended for potential doping violations following information from the Austrian law enforcement authorities, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Wednesday.
Kristijan Koren of Bahrain-Merida and Kristijan Durasek of UAE Team Emirates as well as former riders Alessandro Petacchi and Borut Bozic have been notified for potential Anti-Doping Rules Violations (ADRV) as part of the ‘Operation Aderlass’ investigation.
Koren was competing at the Giro d’Italia and wasn’t allowed to start Wednesday’s stage according to the regulations.
Pettachi retired in 2015 while Bozic ended his cycling career last year and is Assistant Sports Director at Bahrain-Merida.
The four are under investigation for employing prohibited doping methods between 2012 and 2017.
“The UCI and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF)… have been in close contact with the sport and state authorities involved in the Aderlass investigation, in particular with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Austrian law enforcement authorities,” UCI said in a statement.
Operation Aderlass is looking into blood doping, a process where athletes have blood transfusions to increase their stamina and performance, a method prohibited under WADA regulations.
The provisional suspension begins on the day of the notice and a UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal will be established to hear the anti-doping rules violations.
UAE Team Emirates have suspended Durasek.
“The Team hopes that Durasek can prove he was not involved in the affair. Should it be proven otherwise, he will be terminated immediately,” they said in a statement.