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INNSBRUCK, Austria (AP) – Austrian cross-country skier Dominik Baldauf was sentenced to five months suspended probation for serious commercial sport fraud after being admitted to doping.

The Innsbruck Regional Court sentenced Baldauf, 27, on Tuesday after previously admitting blood doping and the use of growth hormones.

Baldauf is one of 23 athletes who were involved in the blood doping scandal between the German doctor Mark Schmidt and the police raids in Erfurt and at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Innsbruck and Seefeld at the end of February last year.

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Soon admitted to having drawn blood for the first time in April 2016 and taking growth hormones from 2017. He said that his teammate Johannes Dürr, who had given information to the ARD broadcaster, introduced him to the criminal investigation operation, a bloodletting operation that lifted the lid of the scandal. Dürr was suspended for life by the Austrian Anti-Doping Legal Affairs Committee in October.

Baldauf’s defender, Andreas Mauhart, rejected the accusation that his doping had harmed sponsors “because he was supposed to do cross-country skiing and that’s exactly what he did”. Mauhart suggested that the Austrian Ski Association was aware of the doping.

Other athletes, including cyclists Georg Preidler and Stefan Denifl, are to be tried before the regional court.

Austrian skier Max Hauke, who was caught with a needle in one of the raids, was sentenced to a five-month suspended sentence by the court in October when he, Baldauf, Preidler and Denifl were excluded from competition for theirs for four years alleged participation in the doping ring.

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