First Swiss doping verdict against Veloprofi Pirmin Lang creates new questions – sport


The case is reminiscent of a crime thriller with a historical component – that of the only exposed Swiss athlete in “Operation Phlebotomy”. It all started in February 2019 with a spectacular raid on the Cross-Country World Championships in Tyrol. The blow to an international doping ring by Erfurt doctor Mark Schmidt has so far produced 23 convicted athletes from eight countries, including ex-cyclist Pirmin Lang.

For Lucerne, who resided in the canton of Aargau, resigned in 2017, his crimes before the Aargau public prosecutor’s office ended. This determined on suspicion that the cyclist not only consumed doping agents, but also acted with them. The findings of the investigation are remarkable.

The judgment is the least spectacular. The penalty order against Lang provides for a conditional fine of CHF 500 and a fine of CHF 100. He has accepted the verdict and is the first legally convicted Swiss elite athlete since the introduction of the anti-doping provisions in the Sports Promotion Act 2012.

How’s that? Athlete delivers goods to doctor!

The fact that doping offenses in sports do not end up in front of the kadi more often has to do with the fact that the actual doping is not pursued in Switzerland. Only the purchase or sale of illegal substances is prohibited. The mild verdict against Lang is due to the fact that, on the one hand, part of the misconduct from 2012 and 2013 is statute-barred, and the 35-year-old could only be proven that illegal means were being tried.

Based on the evidence, the investigators have little doubt that it actually happened. Spectacular is the name of the recipient of Lang’s supply of a banned substance and a prohibited aid to doping. It is the Erfurt doctor Mark Schmidt who, according to a report by the “NZZ am Sonntag”, admitted to supplying Lang with doping agents in 2015 and 2016.

This results in several open points. On the one hand, it is hard to believe that the veloprofi apparently started trading with doping agents from 2012, but only consumed them three years later. From whom did Lang receive the goods? And why does the head of the doping network get a Swiss professional cyclist?

Who is the Swiss judiciary against?

These are questions that anti-doping Switzerland also addresses. With Lang’s criminal conviction, the authority is now opening its disciplinary proceedings against Pirmin Lang. And she is waiting for another judicial procedure to be completed. Who it is aimed at is unknown. What is certain is that it is not the former cycling coach Danilo Hondo. He was also transferred as a customer by Doctor Schmidt in May 2019. So there is at least one other participant from Switzerland involved in “Operation Phlebotomy”. Like in a real thriller.

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