Head of blood doping ring Mark Schmidt convicted, sentenced to prison

MUNICH -- German doctor Mark Schmidt was convicted and sentenced to four years and 10 months in prison on Friday for his role as head of an international blood doping ring uncovered in the Operation Aderlass criminal investigation.

The Munich regional court also banned the 42-year-old Schmidt from working for three years and convicted four accomplices, who received lesser sentences.

The court considered it proven that Schmidt treated winter-sports athletes and cyclists with blood doping for years. In one case, he administered a preparation to an Austrian mountain biker that was not approved for human use, leading to a conviction for dangerous bodily harm.

The network was uncovered following police raids in the central German city of Erfurt and at the Nordic skiing world championships in Innsbruck and Seefeld, Austria in February 2019. Blood bags were seized in the raids.

Many of the athletes involved have already faced trial. Austrian cyclist Stefan Denifl was convicted of fraud on Tuesday, when he received a two-year sentence with 16 months suspended after being accused of doping from 2014 to 2018.

Another Austrian cyclist, Georg Preidler, was given a 12-month suspended sentence in Austria last year.