Groupama-FDJ's Georg Preidler on Monday admitted to cheating amid an investigation into blood doping that brought down five skiers at the Nordic skiing world championships last week.
Cycling Central

5 Mar 2019 - 9:15 AM  UPDATED 5 Mar 2019 - 9:16 AM

Preidler told the Kronen newspaper that he could not ‘live with this secret any longer’ after skiers from Austria, Kazakhstan and Estonia were arrested last Wednesday in anti-doping raids in the Austrian resort of Seefeld.

Preidler has now left Groupama-FDJ, the French outfit said in a statement on Monday, adding that the rider, who joined in 2018, had admitted having ‘blood taken’ that year.

“Given the seriousness of the facts which are in total opposition to the ethical principles still defended by the team and its sponsors Groupama and FDJ, Marc Madiot accepted his resignation effective immediately.

“The team regrets this case but preserves its trust in all of the team members and will remain inflexible in terms of ethics.”

Ex-pro Stefan Denifl, who served a seven-year WorldTour career with outfits like Cervelo Test Team, Leopard-Trek, Vacansoleil-DCM and IAM Cycling, also last week confessed to police.

The raids were part of a broader operation targeting a Germany-based criminal organization suspected of having carried out blood doping for years.

A 40-year-old sports doctor, named as ‘Mark S’, was believed to be at the centre of the organization, police said last week.

“It was the biggest mistake of my life,” Preidler said. “These people approach you. All of my successes, including the Giro, were clean. I had success without doping, which is interesting.

"You always have pressure to perform, find contracts and worry about your job. At some point, the inhibition disappears. The doctors assure you that you will never get caught.

"It’s like a shell game. You know it’s a scam, but you play along.”

Preidler, who joined the WorldTour in 2013 with Argos-Shimano, before signing with Groupama-FDJ in 2018, said that some of his best results, such as a third-place finish in a Giro d’Italia mountain stage in 2016, had been achieved clean.

He won stage 6 at the Tour of Poland last year and raced the Tour du Haut Var in February.