(Reuters) – Four European cyclists have been provisionally suspended for potential doping violations following information from Austrian law enforcement authorities, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced on Wednesday.
Slovenia’s Koren Kristijan and Bozic Borut, Croatia’s Durasek Kristijan and Italy’s Petacchi Alessandro were notified by UCI for potential Anti-Doping Rules Violations (ADRV) as part of the ‘Operation Aderlass’ investigation.
Bahrain Merida’s Koren Kristijan is competing at the Giro d’Italia and will not be allowed to start Wednesday’s stage according to the regulations.
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.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)