Austrian cyclist Denifl found guilty of fraud in doping case

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INNSBRUCK, Austria (AP) An Austrian cyclist who won a stage at the Spanish Vuelta was found guilty of fraud on Tuesday in connection with a doping scheme.

The Austria Press Agency reported Stefan Denifl received a two-year sentence with 16 months of that time suspended after being accused of doping from 2014 to 2018.

It was not immediately clear whether Denifl, who can appeal the ruling, would serve any time in prison. He has the option to apply to serve the time while living at home under certain conditions including monitoring with an electronic ankle tag.

Denifl admitted being involved in a blood doping ring allegedly run from neighboring Germany, but denied he earned money fraudulently by doping, APA reported.

Another Austrian cyclist, Georg Preidler, was given a 12-month suspended sentence in Austria last year.

Denifl won a Vuelta stage and the Tour of Austria, both in 2017, but was stripped of those accomplishments last year when he was banned from sports for four years by the Austrian National Anti-Doping Organization.

The case is part of a Europe-wide crackdown on blood doping which began when Austrian authorities raided teams’ accommodation at the Nordic skiing world championships in February 2019 and arrested five skiers, including one who was pictured with a needle in his arm.

A verdict is expected on Friday in another case in Germany against a doctor who allegedly oversaw the doping ring and some of his associates. In Estonia, a ski coach was given a one-year suspended sentence in 2019.

Austrian authorities have taken a hard line on doping in recent years. Unlike most other countries, Austria typically treats doping as a financial issue, with a focus on whether athletes earned prize money or lucrative contracts by cheating to improve their sporting achievements.

Davide Rebellin dies after hit by truck while training

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MILAN — Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin, one of the sport’s longest-serving professionals, died after being struck by a truck while training. He was 51.

Rebellin was riding near the town of Montebello Vicentino in northern Italy when he was hit by a truck near a motorway junction. The vehicle did not stop, although Italian media reported that the driver may have been unaware of the collision.

Local police are working to reconstruct the incident and find the driver.

Rebellin had only retired from professional cycling last month, bringing to an end a career that had spanned 30 years. He last competed for Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek and the UCI Continental team posted a tribute on its social media accounts.

“Dear Davide, keep pedaling, with the same smile, the same enthusiasm and the same passion as always,” the Italian team said. “This is not how we imagined the future together and it is not fair to have to surrender so suddenly to your tragic absence.”

“To your family, your loved ones, your friends and all the enthusiasts who, like us, are crying for you right now, we just want to say that we imagine you on a bicycle, looking for new roads, new climbs and new challenges even up there, in the sky.”

Rebellin’s successes included victories at Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico as well as winning a stage in the 1996 edition of the Giro d’Italia, which he also led for six stages.

Rebellin won silver in the road race at the 2008 Olympic Games, but he was later stripped of his medal and banned for two years after a positive doping test. He had denied wrongdoing.

CAS upholds Nairo Quintana DQ from Tour de France for opioid use

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The disqualification of two-time Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana from his sixth place in the 2022 race for misuse of an opioid was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CAS said its judges dismissed Quintana’s appeal and agreed with the International Cycling Union that the case was a medical matter rather than a doping rules violation. He will not be banned.

The court said the judges ruled “the UCI’s in-competition ban on tramadol was for medical rather than doping reasons and was therefore within the UCI’s power and jurisdiction.”

Traces of the synthetic painkiller tramadol were found in two dried blood spot samples taken from the Colombian racer five days apart in July, the UCI previously said.

Quintana’s case is among the first to rely on the dried blood spot (DBS) method of collecting samples which the World Anti-Doping Agency approved last year.

Tramadol was banned in 2019 from use at cycling races because of potential side effects. They include the risk of addiction, dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention.

Quintana finished second in the Tour de France in 2013 and 2015, won both times by Chris Froome. He won the 2014 Giro d’Italia.