2 Austrian cyclists suspended by UCI amid doping probe

              FILE - In this file photo dated Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, Georg Preidler of Austria competes in the men's road cycling individual time trial at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Professional cycling team Groupama-FDJ said Monday March 4, 2019, that Preidler has admitted to blood doping related to a case which began with the arrests of five skiers. (Bryn Lennon/Pool File Photo via AP)

AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Cycling Union suspended two Austrian riders on Tuesday because of their role in an international blood-doping ring.

The UCI said it will help Austrian anti-doping authorities build a case against Georg Preidler and Stefan Denifl, who have both raced in Grand Tours and made up Austria’s road-race team at the 2016 Olympics.

Preidler’s team, Groupama-FDJ, said Monday the rider had resigned and admitted “inexcusable involvement” in blood doping, including undergoing two procedures last year.

Austrian authorities said Sunday that a professional cyclist admitted to doping after being arrested, but didn’t name him. Austrian media outlets identified him as Denifl.

The suspensions follow raids last week by police at the Nordic skiing world championships in Austria and a medical practice in Germany. A German doctor who used to work in pro cycling, Mark Schmidt, is accused of providing blood doping services to athletes in various sports.

Five skiers were arrested at the championships, along with Schmidt and three people described as his associates.

Austrian cross-country skiers Max Hauke and Dominik Baldauf, four-time Olympian Alexei Poltoranin of Kazakhstan, and Estonian teammates Karel Tammjarv and Andreas Veerpalu have all been suspended by the International Ski Federation.