A German doctor has been charged with causing serious bodily harm after a female athlete allegedly suffered side effects from being administered red blood cells. The case has come about as a result of the Operation Aderlass anti-doping investigation, which first hit the headlines when a number of arrests were made at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Austria in February.
ESPN reports that the doctor – whose name is protected by German privacy regulations – has been charged along with four "helpers" over the 2017 incident.
He is accused of falsely telling the athlete that the administration of red blood cells would be safe and sterile.
"It's possible the sports doctor is facing a multi-year prison sentence," said Munich prosecutor Anne Leiding. "For the others, it depends on the information about their concrete involvement in the crime."
The prosecution alleges that all five were involved in doping in cycling and winter sports.
They say the group carried out blood doping around the world "regularly and in an unknown number of cases" from the end of 2011 onwards. They allege that athletes were given blood transfusions and growth hormones as part of "sophisticated treatment plans" intended to improve physical performance while minimising the risk of failing drug tests.
A number of cyclists have already been sanctioned as a result of Operation Aderlass (the codename is German for 'bloodletting').
Austrian cyclists Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler and the Croatian, Kristijan Durasek, have all received four-year bans, while Slovenian riders Kristijan Koren and Borut Bozic were both banned for two years.
The highest profile rider involved in the investigation to date is the Italian Alessandro Petacchi, winner of Milan-San Remo and the points jersey at all three Grand Tours. Now retired, he received a two-year ban in August.