At least 21 athletes from eight countries are involved in the blood-dying scandal that has been excavated in Erfurt, Germany, where justice feels it has to do "A big story" global in size. "We can investigate more athletes than in the Fuentes case, so I think it's a relatively big story"Munich's prosecutor Kai Gräber said on Wednesday. In 2006, the justice system in Spain dismantled a doping network led by Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. About fifty athletes, mainly cyclists, were investigated.
"There are five sports involved, including three winter sports"said Kai Gräber, without giving names or indications about nationalities. According to known elements, three of these sports are cross-country skiing, cycling and most probably triathlon. The other two are therefore winter sports.
The Munich public prosecutor says he has managed to get the hang of it "40 to 50 bags of 500 ml of blood", some of which have not yet been attributed to athletes. In the current state of the investigation, the courts believe that the facts started in 2011 and continued during the recent Nordic World Skiing Championships in Seefeld in Tyrol, Austria.
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The main suspect and head of the network, the German doctor Mark Schmidt, collaborates with the investigators and his indications open perspectives "Big scale"has added Kai Gräber. In total "It is a three-digit number of blood transfusions for doping purposes" that would be organized from Erfurt. Of the 21 already suspected athletes, each would have practiced between 15 and 20 transfusions. "A small percentage of the 21 suspects are women"said the prosecutor.
South Korea and Hawaii
Transfusions took place all over the world, "In Germany, Austria, Switzerland, but also in South Korea and Hawaii", according to Kai Gräber. "Two people from the Erfurt network went to the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in February 2018" to bring athletes some bags of their own blood "Agreement" by the laboratory. Hawaii, quoted by the public prosecutor, is famous for its annual "Ironman" triathlon.
The circle of suspects will expand, the German prosecutor said: "We want to identify people for whom we have not found any blood bags." Athletes paid the doctor between 4,000 and 12,000 euros "per season". On Monday, a fifth person suspected of belonging to the Erfurt network was arrested. She is suspected of carrying bags of blood.
This new case of blood doping began in January with the confessional call of Austrian cross-country skiing servant Johannes Dürr on the German public channel ARD. It continued at the end of February with a wave of arrests in Germany and Austria, especially on the sidelines of the World Ski Championships in Seefeld.
Five cross-country skiers were then arrested, while the German police, the sports doctor suspected of being in the middle of the network, Mark Schmidt, were already involved in previous doping cases in cycling. Then also two cyclists, including a rider from the Groupama FDJ formation, the Austrian Georg Preidler were arrested. All athletes were released but suspended.