The Associated Press reports that the Austrian Criminal Intelligence Service told the Austria Press Agency that prosecutors have “reasonable suspicion” that Austrian skier Christian Hoffmann was involved in illegal blood enrichment.
According to the Kurier newspaper’s Sunday edition, Hoffmann allegedly colluded with cyclists Bernhard Kohl and Michael Rasmussen and Kohl’s former manager Stefan Matschiner. He was arrested in March and has admitted he helped Kohl with blood doping. Hoffmann, an Olympic Champion in 2002, has denied any wrongdoing.
The Austrian Ski Team has been surrounded by doping scandals over the last decade. In 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake, Austrian skiers were caught with blood doping equipment in their rooms, leading to the ban of coach Walter Mayer. At 2006 Olympics, Mayer appeared at the Athlete’s Village despite his ban. Police were called and a car chase ensued. Mayer has been in and out of prison this spring for doping related crimes.
In additional doping news, an independent commission has released findings on a long-running organized doping program out of Freiburg, Germany. While the report focuses on the cycling world, the Freiburg doping program has been connected to cross-country skiing. The commission has revealed a significant level of detail of doping practices of the last decade.