Austrian athlete suspended for positive tests for EPO

Triathlon is shaken by a new doping case: The Austrian Anti-Doping Commission (ÖADR) has suspended an athlete who tested positive twice for EPO earlier this season.

| August 6, 2019 | NEWS

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Austria has a new doping case: Florian Lienhardt has been temporarily suspended from competitive sport, officials from the Austrian Anti-Doping Law Commission (ÖADR) announced at a press conference yesterday. The suspension was effective from August 3, 2019 until the completion of the anti-doping procedure pending at the ÖADR.

Two positive EPO samples

According to ÖADR, the anti-doping rule violation is for the banned substance erythropoietin (EPO). Lienhardt tested positive for the substance that increases the blood's oxygen transport capacity on two occasions - at competition controls on May 25, 2019 at the Austrian State Championships of the Cross Triathlon Sprint and on June 9, 2019 at the Neufelder Triathlon (Olympic distance), which he won by a margin of four minutes.

According to the ITU Anti-Doping Rules, any athlete who has been notified under Article 7.7 of the ITU Anti-Doping Rules must, in the case of a positive test result for a nonspecific substance (such as EPO), is provisionally suspended pending completion of the procedure before the ÖADR.

Lienhart had finished second at the state championship, a race he's won twice. Lienhart is the son of ex-cyclist Hans Lienhart, a three-time Austrian state champion in road cycling and three-time Olympian. The Austrian triathlon portal "triaguide" reports that Lienhart was recently coached by the former ski trainer Gerald H., who was named during "Operation Aderlass" by former cross-country skier Johannes Dürr and was temporarily taken into police custody.

Confession on Facebook

On Monday afternoon, Lienhart posted a confession on his Facebook page:

"Unfortunately, I have to announce today that I made a big mistake," Lienhart writes. "In the course of the state championships I was tested positive for a prohibited substance at the beginning of June, 2019. I got carried away with false ambition to take this substance and, in retrospect - unfortunately only with the current distance - I made a big mistake. I apologize sincerely and, of course, cooperate fully with the authorities. I am an athlete and I have made a mistake, but I would like to take a look at this difficult phase and I am already aware that my behavior was not correct, and I have also thought a lot about it. With my current knowledge, I would not commit that mistake again and have been thinking long and hard about how to do it. Triathlon is / was my life and I wanted the success a bit too much. Well, that's my lesson. "