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Austria charges skier, coach in case linked to doping ring

INNSBRUCK, Austria (AP) — Austrian prosecutors have charged a cross-country ski coach and a skier in connection with a crackdown on a blood doping ring. Prosecutors in the city of Innsbruck said Wednesday they charged coach Gerald Heigl, a former coach with the Austrian ski federation, with sports fraud and violating an anti-doping law. He is accused of supplying a skier with growth hormone and having approved blood doping treatments for two others.

Also charged is a former skier, identified by prosecutors only as Harald W. He is accused of providing a specialized refrigerator which was used to store blood for doping purposes and faces charges of providing false evidence.

The cases stem from an international investigation into a blood doping ring allegedly operated from Germany which treated cross-country skiers, cyclists and competitors in other sports. No hearing date has been set.

Since police raids during the world Nordic ski championships last year, at least five skiers and six cyclists have been banned from competing.

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