Paris - Cyclist Georg Preidler, who had gone to the Austrian police to
confess to doping, has quit Groupama-FDJ "with immediate effect" the
French team said on Monday.
Preidler was not among six athletes arrested last week in a probe
into an international doping ring but "couldn't live with this secret
any longer," he told the Kronen newspaper, and handed himself in to
police in Graz.
Five skiers and another cyclist were held as part of investigation
into an alleged doping ring based in Germany and led by a 40-year-old
sports doctor named as 'Mark S'.
"The past few days have been a nightmare. I didn't know if I would
get found out. I didn't know whether this doping doctor had concealed
everything," Preidler said.
The triple Austrian time-trial champion said that he had been sought
out by the doping ring and had only started doping "recently", insisting
that his professional successes had been "clean".
"It was the biggest mistake of my life," he added.
Preidler joined Groupama, which is run by Marc Madiot, last year. The
team said in their statement that he "had blood drawn twice at the end
"Given the seriousness of the facts which are in total opposition to
the ethical principles still defended by the team and its sponsors
Groupama and FDJ, Marc Madiot accepted his resignation effective
immediately," said the team.
The team said they were collaborating "right now" with the authorities.
On Sunday, prosecutors announced that another cyclist - named in
Austrian media as Stefan Denifl - had admitted to doping offences.
Some of the raids last week centred on the Austrian resort of
Seefeld, where the Nordic skiing world championships were being held.
Five skiers were arrested: two Austrians, Dominik Baldauf and Max
Hauke, Estonians Karel Tammjaerv and Andreas Veerpalu, and Kazakh
athlete Alexei Poltoranin.
Footage later posted on social media showed Hauke apparently caught
red-handed with a needle in his arm during the police raid with an
officer looking on.