TURIN, Italy — At least 10 members of the Austrian biathlon and cross-country ski teams were taken for surprise doping tests Saturday night while Italian authorities searched for banned substances in quarters Austrian officials have rented for the Games near the Olympic mountain venues.
Richard Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told the Associated Press that the actions were prompted by the discovery of blood doping equipment in Austria connected to former Austrian Nordic team coach Walter Mayer.
Mayer, 48, and a team chiropractor, Volker Muller, were declared ineligible for the Olympics through the 2010 Vancouver Games after blood-doping gear was found at a home occupied by Austrian skiers in Heber City, Utah, at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
According to AP, Pound said WADA officials went to Austria to test athletes but found blood-doping equipment linked to Mayer and were told he was with the Austrian team in Italy. The Austrian ski team guidebook identifies him as cross-country and biathlon director.
WADA gave its information to the International Olympic Committee, which gave it to Italian authorities. Italian law calls for criminal sanctions in doping matters. Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva was stripped of a silver medal and expelled from the Games after testing positive for a stimulant.
Seven Austrian cross-country skiers and three biathletes were taken to a doping control site in Sestriere, a source with knowledge of the tests said.