A story of Austrian intrigue

Austrian pediatrician and Ironman triathlete Dr. Andreas Zoubek stands currently accused by the Austrian newspaper KURIER of running a doping operation alongside his day job at the St. Anna Kinderspital, a children's hospital in Vienna, Austria.

Zoubek, who has the nickname "Irondoc," took up triathlon only in the last few years. He placed an impressive 4th at the recent Ironman Florida in the M50-54 behind the age-group winner Joe Bonness. He earned a spot in the 2009 Ironman Hawaii, but a few days later his world became more complicated, when the KURIER contacted him about allegations of doping.

According the KURIER, a witness came forward and presented an EPO syringe to the newspaper, claiming that the syringe came from Zoubek. The witness then, according to the KURIER, forwarded the syringe to the police and made statements under oath, and the police have since started their own investigation. Pursuant to the investigation, Helmut Gadner, a chief medical officer for the St. Anna hospital, has already confirmed to the KURIER that the syringe originated from the hospital. Samples from the drug's supplier were forwarded to Zoubek. In all, Zoubek is credited with taking possession of all 240,000 of the units allegedly received from the supplier. Dr. Georg Mann from St. Anna explained to Slowtwitch that 240,000 units are equivalent to 8 vials.

When initially confronted by the KURIER, Zoubek stated, "No, never, this is all about jealousy."

Zoubek, as one of the founding members of the triathlon club 99ers Moedling had a close affiliation with fellow club member, and rising triathlon star, Michi Weiss. After not making the Austrian Olympic Mountain Bike team, Weiss surprised many onlookers with his second place finishes at XTERRA Worlds in Maui and 70.3 Monaco. Weiss has since left the tri club, and Zoubek stepped down as the head of the club pending the investigation.

Zoubek told Slowtwitch today he was limited in what he could say because of a lawsuit he has filed, or is in the process of filing, against certain elements of the media reporting on his story. After numerous attempts to contact members of the club 99ers Moedling, Slowtwitch received the following statement from tri club board members Hermann Hartl and Theodor Seiz: "Currently we have no commentary regarding this matter. We ask you thus to refrain from
asking our members further questions."

A "Whois" search of 99ers-moedling.at reveals that 99ers-moedling.at is linked to Andreas Zoubek in Moedling, Austria, with an email address that corresponds to the St. Anna Kinderspital where the Irondoc is or was recently employed. Furthermore, some links on the 99ers-moedling.at site are re-directed via irondoc.at.

The German triathlon site 3athlon.de reported—after the Zoubek story broke—that Normann Stadler was approached by Andreas Zoubek after the Waldvierteler Eisenmann Triathlon in Litschau, Austria in 2006, and that Zoubek allededly offered to help Stadler with doping. According to 3athlon.de Stadler then reported the offer of aid to the race director and told the story to Kai Baumgartner at 3athlon.de. The race director then reported the incident to the Austrian Triathlon Federation (ÖRTV). When speaking to Slowtwitch, Zoubek said that he remembered the event and chatting with Normann Stadler at length, but that he did not reference performance enhancing drugs, nor can he recall any reference that Stadler might have misconstrued as such. Several emails over the last 72 hours from Slowtwitch to Normann Stadler went unreturned.

The KURIER also reported that the Austrian Anti Doping Agency NADA (Nationale Anti Doping Agentur) has also been aware of the name Zoubek.

The ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) and the KURIER more recently noted that the hospital reported two medical files missing which corresponded to adult patients. In their places where notes indicating that Zoubek had taken them. But why would Zoubek take these files? "I don’t know, all I know is that they are not here anymore," Gadner said to the KURIER.

In the same article the KURIER reports that 2 witnesses came forward and made statements that they had received iron injections from Zoubek. Gadner offered no proof, but stated to the KURIER that Zoubek ordered extraordinary amounts of iron in 2005 and 2007 from other areas of the hospital. Gadner was then quoted in the KURIER as having stated, "He has told me that he needs it for personal usage, as he and his daughter have corresponding medical issue. That is true. However, the amount (of iron ordered) was so big, that the explanation given does not seem to make sense."

According to the KURIER, Gadner tried to convince Zoubek to share information, and clear up possible misunderstandings, so that a solution can be found for everybody involved, and especially the hospital. There is no indication Gadner received a satisfactory response.

The KURIER quotes Zoubek as saying "No, no, this is an ongoing litigation."

The 51-year old doctor was relieved of his duties as of November 16, and has been on medical leave since early December, according to the KURIER.

News sources:

KURIER.at - the update
KURIER.at - the original story
3athlon.de - Stadler connection