• Aqua Blue Sport rider Stefan Denifl took victory on stage 17 of La Vuelta, a result subsequently crossed out by the UCI. (Getty)Source: Getty
Operation Aderlass has seen its first custodial sentence handed out to a cyclist, with Stefan Denifl (formerly of IAM Cycling and Aqua Blue Sport) handed a two-year jail sentence.
SBS Cycling Central

13 Jan - 8:39 AM 

Stefan Denifl has been sentenced to two years in prison and fined 349,00 Euro for commercial fraud after an Austrian court found him guilty. 16 months of the prison sentence have been suspended.

The 33-year-old rider admitted blood doping but denied the fraud charges, claiming he always fulfilled his contracts. But the judge said that Denifl would not have been hired by his former teams if they had been aware of his doping, and would not have been paid.

Denfil admitted to doping with the aid of German doctor Mark Schmidt as was uncovered by joint German-Austrian Operation Aderlass.

Schmidt faces a five and a half year prison sentence as well as being banned from practicing medicine for five years.

The operation also uncovered doping in ski endurance racing but lead to cyclists like Georg Preidler, Kristijan Durasek and Christina Kollmann, being found through the connection with Schmidt, who had been the team Gerolsteiner doctor in 2009, with riders such as Bernard Kohl found to be doping during that period.

All riders were handed four-year bans from the sport by the UCI. Borut Bozic, Kristijan Koren, Alessandro Petacchi and Danilo Hondo have also been implicated in the investigation, with the first three receiving two-year bans from cycling.