Preidler was accused of having deceived racing bike teams, sports organizers and supporters by using blood doping and growth hormone between March 2017 and March 2019, and causing them to pay out bonuses, sponsorship money and rewards. The accused damage amounted to 286,000 euros. The amount of damage and the duration of the doping were assessed as aggravating in the previous year – mitigating, however, that Preidler was criminally innocent and had partially made a confession. At the time, Preidler pleaded partly guilty at the trial. He also admitted that he had been doing blood doping with the help of the German doctor Mark S. However, he denied having consumed illegal substances before 2018.
The judgment was partially overturned by the Supreme Court after a nullity appeal and Preidler’s appeal. According to a report by the daily newspaper “Die Presse” (Friday edition), the Supreme Court emphasized in its decision in April 2021 that the intention to damage must also be fulfilled for criminal liability. In addition, the first court had to examine whether Preidler’s performance was “useful” for his employers. A court spokesman told the APA in advance that it now had to be clarified to what extent domestic jurisdiction applies to foreign activities – professional cyclists mostly practice their profession abroad. This also emerges from the OGH judgment
In any case, Preidler pleaded guilty again on Friday. This time, however, he stated that he knew very well that he had used illegal substances before 2018. In the previous year, contrary to the testimony of a witness, he had claimed that he had no knowledge that the substances were illegal.
After the partial overturning of the July guilty verdict by the Supreme Court, the defender of the former professional cyclist now argued before the jury that Preidler’s sporting performance had not become null and void as a result of doping. “He still did his job,” he argued with regard to the top athlete’s existing service contracts and also spoke out in favor of an acquittal of the ex-professional cyclist on the charges. The public prosecutor, in turn, pleaded for “punishment commensurate with the guilt and deed”.