Doping in XC skiing

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The thing is, apart from Poltoranin these athletes are not even close to podium spots. Shows very well how dirty the sport still must be. And its not like Hauke wasn't a good junior for example. There he was pretty much on par with guys like Toenseth and more. He was considered to be the biggest Austrian talent for some years, but severely struggled to keep up with World Cup pace. He kind off had his "break-through" last year with achieving World Cup point two or three times. But its not like he is even a top 30 athlete. And considering blood doping is a real game changer i fear we are as far away from clean sports as at Muehlegg/Lahti times.

That said, even these amateurish approach with a single doctor in Germany (ex-Milram doctor M. Schmidt to whom Kohl lost a lawsuit for calling him a "doping-doctor") administering the substances would not have produced a positive test, if it was not for the information from Dürr who most likely had some bad feelings against the Austrian Skiing Federation who ignored his comeback (with very weak results). Kind of a strange, though, that if they had nominated Dürr for the World Championships, probably nothing would have happened.
 
Gigs_98 said:
I do wonder, are Austrians so incredibly horrible at doping, or do we have the only actually working anti doping system in the world?
I think they were actually right good from 1996 to 2002. But than Walter Mayer, the coach, got overly cocky and gave strange interviews about how "he knows exactly what the scandinavians are doing" and that he is not gonna let his athletes get being "crushed". He got annoying with his loud apparence but also his success as a coach. I think the Austrian team was, therefore, (rightfully) targeted at the Olympic Games 2002. But the operation was not the biggest success and only little evidence was found. Nonetheless, Mayer was banned from attending competitions for 8 years as a coach. But of course, he didn't let them do that with him and joined the team in Turin as a "private person". Of course, a razzia followed (this time a lot of evidence was found) and at this point it was nothing short of idiocy. That said, the team didn't have a positive test in the years from 1996 to 2002.

After Turin, the Austrian Skiing Federation withdrew almost all funds from the cross-country team and from then on Austria rarely had an athlete on World Cup level. All who made it, like Tritscher/Wurm/Dürr and now Hauke/Baldauf kind of made it on their own, without much support. In the end, i do not believe in clean elite level competition. And this means, that everyone on a certain level has to make a decision at one point or another. And let's face it, doping is as much about professional environment and structures as is training or equipment. Working with some dodgy doctor in Germany or your father in law is not a very safe long-term way to do this. But still, it would have just worked fine this time for example, if it wasn't for an angry Dürr. And that just shows that athletes will just always be one step in front of inspectors.
 
Bavarianrider said:
What really strikes me that they were apparently using old fashioned blood transfusions right before competition. I thought that woudn't work anymore with the blood pass. But well seems like it still does?
I guess it still does, but there are for sure teams and athletes with more advanced methods. Hence, why in 90% of cases its about pack-fodder athletes. The just don't have the ressources. In cycling its always some random 3rd tier Italian, Kazakh or South American.
 
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ppanther92 said:
I guess it still does, but there are for sure teams and athletes with more advanced methods. Hence, why in 90% of cases its about pack-fodder athletes. The just don't have the ressources. In cycling its always some random 3rd tier Italian, Kazakh or South American.
Smaller teams are really in a pitiless situation. They know they can't compete with top teams neither in budget nor in connections! And for them to take doping the risks are higher with less know-how. Also if despite taking doping you don't achieve results, you can ask - what's the point? Too much risk for too little gain. Guess desperation leads them to desperate means, because due to lack of results you are in danger of losing all sponsors and budget.
 
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Bavarianrider said:
What really strikes me that they were apparently using old fashioned blood transfusions right before competition. I thought that woudn't work anymore with the blood pass. But well seems like it still does?
If the news is correct that anti-doping people have been trying to nail this particular "doping ring" for the past five years, it might be the case that the blood passport has flagged the athletes but not to the level of proof needed to sanction them. Durr's insider knowledge of the methods was needed to catch the athletes red-handed, otherwise they would have been released (being non-Russian)...

The current non-sanctionable levels of blood doping may only allow for smaller performance boosts than before (Muhlegg is not a great comparable IMO, since he was an "Indurain", a muscular guy full of NESP and everything else, with his dominance vs. the other only-EPO athletes exaggerated by the altitude in Salt Lake City).

Edit: NESP not CERA, I am getting old and confused the two...
 
On Poltoranin, I'm saddened because I like the guy, but it's also well worth noting that the Austrians already were 'onto' the Kazakh biathlon team after Hochfilzen '17 and following a second set of raids from Antholz '18 had been able to pick out a number of the team, and notably among them was Poltoranin's wife, Olga Poltoranina. The Austrian authorities therefore probably had a 'warm lead' with him, and then the information that led to today's raid probably led him to be an obvious target. With Andrus Veerpalu, examples like Daniel Taschler and the Rumšas boys come to mind, of the apple not falling far from the tree.
 
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Wouldn't anti-doping fight be more efficient if police did such 'raids' to all teams? It looks like athletes can't be caught by regular and even unexpected testing, you literally have to go to their homes to find stuff.
 
Re:

zarnack said:
Wouldn't anti-doping fight be more efficient if police did such 'raids' to all teams? It looks like athletes can't be caught by regular and even unexpected testing, you literally have to go to their homes to find stuff.
Sure. Also the athletes caught today didn't produce a positive test. But the boundary for raids is the law. And in most countries you probably need some well-based suspicion to do something like that.
 
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alternator said:
If the news is correct that anti-doping people have been trying to nail this particular "doping ring" for the past five years, it might be the case that the blood passport has flagged the athletes but not to the level of proof needed to sanction them.
No, that's a bad take. The doctor lead investigators to the athletes, not the other way around. It's not like FIS noticed that a kazakh living in Estonia had some wonky blood values and called up german authoritites and asked them to investigate. The FIS and ADA's likely had nothing to do with this bust.

I don't get why people act like the athletes made a mistake. They never failed a test, never had a bio-passport case against them. They actually beat the anti-doping system, but their doctor got busted by the cops. That's just bad luck. It happens in some countries... If anything it proves that even no names from small teams can have access to the services of a competent and experienced doping doctor like Schmidt.
 
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Bavarianrider said:
What really strikes me that they were apparently using old fashioned blood transfusions right before competition. I thought that woudn't work anymore with the blood pass. But well seems like it still does?
I think that's propaganda from the "endurance sports are clean now" brigade of liars. Remember the Ashenden micro-dosing study? A 10% increase in Hb mass without triggering the ABP. That's huge.
 
Dürr has confirmed that it was him who gave the officials the names of the involvedpersons.
Although it seems he didn't tell them everything as he says that he gave the names of those persons of whom he is 100% sure that they are involved.
 
It is a truly sad day for XC-skiing. The revealed doping network and that so far, two former doping convicts have gathered three gold medals in the WC.
1. Austria now probably will drop all support for the national XC-team
2. It was not WADA or FIS who caught the cheaters. It was ordinary police work. Doping is not even a crime in many countries. Apparently, athletes in this old doping network have not been caught by the ordinary doping controls.
3. Once again, the Norwegian connection. The coach of the Austrian team, Norwegian Trond Nystad, was the head coach of Norway 2011-16. He was the head coach when Johnsrud Sundby was overdosing potent asthma medication with Nebulizers in the Wax trailer short before competition. He was the headcoach in the season leading up to Johaug being caught with Clostebol in the body. The claim from Nystad and successor Lofshus have always been that if anything shady is going on in the Norwegian team, they would have known. Now, he claims he didn’t have a single clue that two members of his Austrian team were doping. Trond Nystad is married to former skier Claudia Künzel.
 
Gigs_98 said:
Bavarianrider said:
German media report that up to 60 athletes could be included.

I bet that in the end we will get one or two names of random cyclists and the rest will be covered up.
This. Those stories are never as big as claimed
The more money is in the sport, the less likely they are to discover anything. THat's why you never hear about doping scandals in soccer, NFL, NBA, etc. Inspectors are well aware to stay away from the money sports.
 
John de Savage said:
alternator said:
If the news is correct that anti-doping people have been trying to nail this particular "doping ring" for the past five years, it might be the case that the blood passport has flagged the athletes but not to the level of proof needed to sanction them.
No, that's a bad take. The doctor lead investigators to the athletes, not the other way around. It's not like FIS noticed that a kazakh living in Estonia had some wonky blood values and called up german authoritites and asked them to investigate. The FIS and ADA's likely had nothing to do with this bust.

I don't get why people act like the athletes made a mistake. They never failed a test, never had a bio-passport case against them. They actually beat the anti-doping system, but their doctor got busted by the cops. That's just bad luck. It happens in some countries... If anything it proves that even no names from small teams can have access to the services of a competent and experienced doping doctor like Schmidt.
And the doctor only was busted with information from Johannes Dürr. Without this insider information anything would run as smoothly as ever for them.
 
Re:

MrRoboto said:
Wow. That could almost literally be called being caught red-handed.
Story goes that Canadian XC skiing coach Anders Lenes witnessed similar view having opened a wrong door at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics when he witnessed a Finnish cross country skier receiving a transfusion.

Interesting if true, but nobody knows for sure what he actually saw.
 

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