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Dumoulin labels teammate's doping past 'bitter pill to swallow'

Joe Robinson
19 Sep 2019

Georg Preidler accused of blood doping and HGH during a time that could cover the 2017 Giro d'Italia

Tom Dumoulin has labelled the news former teammate Georg Preidler may have doped during the 2017 Giro d'Italia, which Dumoulin won, 'a bitter pill to swallow'.

The Dutchman won his only Grand Tour to date at that Giro with Preidler providing his domestique duties for Team Sunweb in 2017 before departing for Groupama-FDJ at the end of the season.

Preidler had admitted to conspiracy to blood dope in 2018 after being named in the 'Operation Alderlass' scandal. However, an Austrian court has now accused the rider of blood doping and using human growth hormone as far back as the spring of 2017.

This prompted former teammate Dumoulin to respond to the news that one of his teammates may have doped during his Giro victory two years ago.

'Unfortunately, today I read that Georg Preidler has been accused of doping in 2017, including the Giro that I won. I am shocked to read that. I’m beyond proud of that victory and I always will be,' said Dumoulin in a statement published on social media.

'But now I know that I might have had a teammate who had not been racing around clean. That is a bitter pill to swallow.'

Dumoulin continued on by stating he would not be surprised if the charges were true as Preidler 'came across as bitter, insecure and self-contained' while racing in Team Sunweb during 2017.

The Dutchman also called Preidler's doping past a 'terrible life decision, which also affects a lot people around him' but added he would not feel bitter about Preidler due to the pair's past relationship.

The Austrian has been charged with commercial sports fraud by the prosecutor's office in Innsbruck. Preidler was also charged with defrauding his teams and causing damages worth an estimated €250,000 (£221,600).

It is part of the wider 'Operation Aderlass', a police investigation into blood doping of professional athletes across multiple sports. Besides Preidler, the investigation also implicated fellow Austrian Stefan Denifl and retired Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi. 

Preidler is already serving a four-year ban handed down by the UCI earlier this year but could now face a custodial sentence of between six months and five years if the case is taken to court.