Walter Mayer faces doping charges

Updated: February 25, 2011, 9:38 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

VIENNA -- Former Nordic skiing and biathlon coach Walter Mayer of Austria will stand trial for allegedly selling doping substances to athletes, while Austrian cyclist Michael Knopf was banned four years by the nation's anti-doping agency for supplying other riders with banned substances.

Mayer and four accomplices supplied athletes with banned drugs after Austria's new anti-doping laws in August 2008 made possessing and selling doping products a criminal offense, the prosecution in Vienna said.

Prosecutors also charged former cyclist Georg Toschnig and former cross-country skier Mikhail Botvinov for alleged false testimony during investigations into Mayer.

Mayer, who has been banned for his alleged role in the doping scandal that rocked the Austrian team at the 2006 Turin Olympics, was arrested two years ago and kept in custody for several weeks for his alleged involvement in a doping network.

Knopf, who can appeal his ban in court, and his KTM teammates Hannes Gruendlinger and Josef Kugler were barred from last year's Tour of Austria after NADA, Austria's national anti-doping agency, opened proceedings against them for alleged infringements during the past five years.

NADA says there was "not sufficient" evidence that Knopf purchased or used forbidden drugs.

Earlier, NADA banned Gruendlinger for six years for buying, possessing, selling and using doping products, and Kugler received a two-year suspension for attempted blood doping.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.