Doping in XC skiing

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Whatever the case may be, it was one country dominating and two countries giving any sort of resistance, Sweden in the women's races and Russia in the men's.

Even with Sochi, the Russian men never dominated, sure, there was the 50km, and yes, there was some bad luck in earlier races, Ustiugov's crash in the sprint final, Sundby crossing over into Vylegzhanin's lane in the skiathlon, Jauhojaervi impeding Tscharnke leading to the German's fall and almost causing Kriukov to fall, plus Legkov's broken pole at the base of the long climb on the final lap...

Let's see if anything comes out later, doubtful, but hope dies last...
 
Jan 7, 2019
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BullsFan22 said:
Tactics aside, it's a bit too unbelievable how dominant Norway has been in Seefeld. Roethe was in the doldrums for while before this season. Sundby finally wins a individual gold at the age of 34. Klaebo dominates every sprint/team sprint. Iversen 'may' probably be the most believable one, even if his rise to the senior ranks was quite meteoric, because he was nowhere to be seen as a junior. Krüger peaking last year. Holund, after being an (almost) afterthought, does one race in Seefeld and wins. It's one thing if a couple guys hit their peak at the same event, it's something else when the entire team shows up and sweeps the medals.
I'm not sure it's exactly unbelievable that Norway dominated. The guys you mention are all top skiers. The rest of the world isn't up to it with enough top skiers to match up to them. And it's not getting any better. Poltoranin is now out. Harvey is going to retire after this season. I wonder, how long will Cologna continue? He is in the same age as Hellner/Northug, both of who are gone, and Cologna may feel he doesn't have much more left to prove. Funnily enough soon brit Musgrave may be left as biggest opposition to Norway/Russia.

What concerns Russia, they were 2nd 5 (!) times. It was fairly close between Norway and Russia quite a few times. Maybe it's a bit circumstancial and a bit of luck that each time it worked out in Norway's favour. And as some Russians didn't really nail their form for the championships, then these small margins start mattering, who ends up on top.
 
zarnack said:
BullsFan22 said:
Tactics aside, it's a bit too unbelievable how dominant Norway has been in Seefeld. Roethe was in the doldrums for while before this season. Sundby finally wins a individual gold at the age of 34. Klaebo dominates every sprint/team sprint. Iversen 'may' probably be the most believable one, even if his rise to the senior ranks was quite meteoric, because he was nowhere to be seen as a junior. Krüger peaking last year. Holund, after being an (almost) afterthought, does one race in Seefeld and wins. It's one thing if a couple guys hit their peak at the same event, it's something else when the entire team shows up and sweeps the medals.
I'm not sure it's exactly unbelievable that Norway dominated. The guys you mention are all top skiers. The rest of the world isn't up to it with enough top skiers to match up to them. And it's not getting any better. Poltoranin is now out. Harvey is going to retire after this season. I wonder, how long will Cologna continue? He is in the same age as Hellner/Northug, both of who are gone, and Cologna may feel he doesn't have much more left to prove. Funnily enough soon brit Musgrave may be left as biggest opposition to Norway/Russia.

What concerns Russia, they were 2nd 5 (!) times. It was fairly close between Norway and Russia quite a few times. Maybe it's a bit circumstancial and a bit of luck that each time it worked out in Norway's favour. And as some Russians didn't really nail their form for the championships, then these small margins start mattering, who ends up on top.

I agree on all points. Definitely tactics and skis played their part. Russians tend to be more stubborn then the rest and you could see that in these races. We could see that in the TDS when Ustiugov was clearly struggling and losing contact with the lead group in penultimate stage yet four of his teammates were driving the pace up front and he effectively lost the tour on that stage alone. Today instead of reacting Holund, they did nothing. When the gap went to 30 seconds and then over 40, I knew it was going to be hard to catch him unless he blew up. He didn't blow up. The lead went up to 1:20 at one point. That is a ton of time at this level. Olsson had less than that, but the chase behind him was organized. When Holund attacked the 'peloton' seemed to have slowed down. I do realize that the Russians didn't hit their form for Seefeld, particularly the Markus Cramer led group (Belov, Belorukova, Ustiugov, Maltsev...). The only one of that group that did was Retivykh and he probably overachieved by getting 3rd in the individual sprint and 2nd in the team sprint. Ustiugov just has had a roller coaster last two seasons. This year with the broken thumb in October, with missing the TDS win, the sprint race in Seefeld, the bad classic portion of the skiathlon, the bad stomach in the relay...

The Russians have 4 distinct training groups on their national team, and that probably can cause problems. Not that having one huge group of 30 or perhaps more athletes training together all the time is the best, but it can create uncertainty. Cramer takes his group to central Europe and Norway to train. The others tend to stay in Russia or in Estonia. Spitsov had an ok early season, getting on the podium a couple times, Melnichenko likewise. Those two train in separate groups. Belov who won in Davos trains with Cramer and Ustiugov. Bolshunov is with Spitsov and Nepryaeva and others...Melnichenko is with Larkov, Bessmertnykh and Vylegzhanin...Sedova is the only one, that trains alone. Her father is her personal coach.

It's not all doping, I get that. There can be a lot of variables coming into play.
 
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Discgear said:
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.
Excellent post, forgot to kudos it right after it was posted. All in all, I think the doping debacle revealed how strong the "ties that bind" the sport are. Dirty it is when skiers knocking on 30 dope. And when coaches criculate between teams who encounter "cases" but of course see nothing.

Not all of Norway's dominance can be explained by dope, I agree, but it would be foolish to think it does not play a role. And ditto for other top teams I would surmise.

Thinking ahead, it will be interesting to see which kind of skier Karlsson becomes, Andersson too. To the naked eye their skate technique seems more efficient than Johaug's, definitely aesthetically more pleasing too, but looks can deceive and biomech is very individual (not saying that TJs seemingly unlimited o2 supply does not matter!). But they too are somewhat of cadence skiers. XC is I think moving to a direction where brute force will become all the more important in women's distance racing, and it already is in men. Think of cyclocross, cobbled classics and/or Ardennes but factor in the fact that upper body accounts for 2/3s of the propulsive force.

Abstract TJ away from the ladies field, she will quit eventually anyhow, and IMHO it becomes very lucrative to start thinking about putting on couple kilos of upper body muscle and, if possible, taking serious top speed lessons from Stina.
 
Jan 7, 2019
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meat puppet said:
Not all of Norway's dominance can be explained by dope, I agree, but it would be foolish to think it does not play a role. And ditto for other top teams I would surmise.
To put it shortly. Norway has the biggest budget of all XC teams. And funding is obviously helpful in all areas, including medicine. I assume all teams try to do something - illegal or not - to find performance, but of course everyone has their own limits of what they can afford.

But obviously Norway is also the country, where XC is The national sport, which you can't really say about any other country. Also it has the biggest talent pool and biggest amount of skiers coming up. So they would be up there irrespective of performance enhancers. But obviously medicine helps them to seal their advantage to put it this way. Success is a sum of many factors.
 
Mar 1, 2019
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Discgear said:
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.
Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing.

I also want to add that Nystad was the head coach of US nordic team since 2002 to 2005 leading up to Torino where 2 US skiers had high hemoglobin level (including Kikkan Randall) - not sure if she was training under Nystad but suspicious.

At the same time, Evi Sachenbacher (later busted), Natalia Matveeva (later busted for EPO) and Nikolay Pankratov (later busted for blood doping) had high hemoglobin levels.

I put together a list of skiers who couldn't race due to high hemoglobin levels from 1999 to 2011 and those were:
* Johan Muelhegg (later busted for darbepoetin/EPO)
* Larissa Lazutina (later busted for darbepoetin/EPO)
* Olga Danilova (later busted for darbepoetin/EPO)
* Virpi Kuitunen (later busted for EPO)
* Reto Burgermeister (later coach of Chernussov and Legkov)
* Jaak Mae (coached by Mati Alaver and trained with Veerpalu - busted)
* Kein Einaste (coached by Mati Alaver)
* Kaspar Kokk (coached by Mati Alaver)
* Algo Kärp (coached by Mati Alaver)
* Maxim Vyleghzanin
* Manuela Di Centa
* Sergei Dolidovich

- There might be more... Feel free to share the names.

Also, Karel Tammjärv who got busted claimed that Mati Alaver gave him Schmidt (blood doping doctor) contacts in mid 2016. He also claimed that Veerpalu knew about it. Mati Alaver was also the coach of Poltaranin (since 2014) who too, got busted for blood doping.
 
Nov 15, 2015
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lowenthusiast said:
Discgear said:
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.
Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing.

I also want to add that Nystad was the head coach of US nordic team since 2002 to 2005 leading up to Torino where 2 US skiers had high hemoglobin level (including Kikkan Randall) - not sure if she was training under Nystad but suspicious.

At the same time, Evi Sachenbacher (later busted), Natalia Matveeva (later busted for EPO) and Nikolay Pankratov (later busted for blood doping) had high hemoglobin levels.

I put together a list of skiers who couldn't race due to high hemoglobin levels from 1999 to 2011 and those were:
* Johan Muelhegg (later busted for darbepoetin/EPO)
* Larissa Lazutina (later busted for darbepoetin/EPO)
* Olga Danilova (later busted for darbepoetin/EPO)
* Virpi Kuitunen (later busted for EPO)
* Reto Burgermeister (later coach of Chernussov and Legkov)
* Jaak Mae (coached by Mati Alaver and trained with Veerpalu - busted)
* Kein Einaste (coached by Mati Alaver)
* Kaspar Kokk (coached by Mati Alaver)
* Algo Kärp (coached by Mati Alaver)
* Maxim Vyleghzanin
* Manuela Di Centa
* Sergei Dolidovich

- There might be more... Feel free to share the names.

Also, Karel Tammjärv who got busted claimed that Mati Alaver gave him Schmidt (blood doping doctor) contacts in mid 2016. He also claimed that Veerpalu knew about it. Mati Alaver was also the coach of Poltaranin (since 2014) who too, got busted for blood doping.
* Britta Johansson Norgren
* Peter Larsson

Manuela Di Centa's EPO use is documented. Conconi files confirm that she was treated with EPO, boosting her hematocrit to 55% at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer.
 
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John de Savage said:
Manuela Di Centa's EPO use is documented. Conconi files confirm that she was treated with EPO, boosting her hematocrit to 55% at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer.
According to the gata gathered for the Videman et al paper "Changes in hemoglobin values in elite cross-country skiers from 1987 to 1999", the highest female value in 1994 was only 15.8 g/dl (hct ~47-48 %), but the paper isn't clear whether that data is from the 1994 Olympic Games.

It is well-known that blood testing was conducted at those games despite some opposition from the IOC.
 
Nov 15, 2015
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Aragon said:
John de Savage said:
Manuela Di Centa's EPO use is documented. Conconi files confirm that she was treated with EPO, boosting her hematocrit to 55% at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer.
According to the gata gathered for the Videman et al paper "Changes in hemoglobin values in elite cross-country skiers from 1987 to 1999", the highest female value in 1994 was only 15.8 g/dl (hct ~47-48 %), but the paper isn't clear whether that data is from the 1994 Olympic Games.

It is well-known that blood testing was conducted at those games despite some opposition from the IOC.
Lillehammer -94 segment starts at 11:55. Numbers from Conconi's files are presented.
https://www.dr.dk/sporten/cykling/se-danskerlaegen-2-om-rolf-soerensen
 
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I am aware of data about Di Centa and I can recall her hematocrit variations discussed already some twenty years ago when La Repubblica gained access to the Conconi - files and Sandro Donati has written about the subject also in his books. Just an interesting item if there is nothing in suspicious in the blood data of 1994.

Interestingly she had anti-doping attitude at the beginning of her career because I can recall seeing media items about her complaining in the late 1980s and early 1990s about the Conconi - blood doping program which she refused to take part in during the 1980s and she had troubles in getting into the national team.
 
Dec 11, 2018
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Re:

Discgear said:
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.
Just want to say that Løfshus got his current job in 2011, while Trond Nystad coached the men's team 2011-2016. Egil Kristiansen was coach for the women 2006-2016, and was succeeded by Roar Hjelmeseth.(younger brother to former norwegian skiier Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeseth). So it seems a bit far fetched to connect Nystad to Johaugs case, since was not her coach at the time and I am pretty sure he never have been either.

In Norway the national teams have one person who is the leader (Vidar Løfshus) for the elite teams. He is the one in charge, but my impression is that he have more of an administrative role. Then we have the head coaches, which this season is Eirik Myhr Nossum (men allround), Arild Monsen (men sprint) and Ole Morten Iversen (women's team). There are obviously more people in the staff, i.ex. assistant coaches.

Not sure if you were aware since you seem to have it a bit mixed up in your post.

Apart from that I think you make som valid points, and I believe that if doping is made illegal everywhere and the ones that get caught is charged with crimes that has to do with fraud etc. and is investigated by the police more people will get caught. I trust the police far more than i trust the people in organisations like WADA, FIS, IBU and so on. It is well known with corruption in those kind of organisations and they also have to protect the interest of the sport to make money themselves. If the biggest profiles get caught, they lose interest, which leads to fewer people watching which leads to less interest/money from sponsors.
 
Feb 15, 2014
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lowenthusiast said:
I put together a list of skiers who couldn't race due to high hemoglobin levels from 1999 to 2011 and those were:
* Johan Muelhegg (later busted for darbepoetin/EPO)
* Larissa Lazutina (later busted for darbepoetin/EPO)
* Olga Danilova (later busted for darbepoetin/EPO)
* Virpi Kuitunen (later busted for EPO)
* Reto Burgermeister (later coach of Chernussov and Legkov)
* Jaak Mae (coached by Mati Alaver and trained with Veerpalu - busted)
* Kein Einaste (coached by Mati Alaver)
* Kaspar Kokk (coached by Mati Alaver)
* Algo Kärp (coached by Mati Alaver)
* Maxim Vyleghzanin
* Manuela Di Centa
* Sergei Dolidovich

- There might be more... Feel free to share the names.

Also, Karel Tammjärv who got busted claimed that Mati Alaver gave him Schmidt (blood doping doctor) contacts in mid 2016. He also claimed that Veerpalu knew about it. Mati Alaver was also the coach of Poltaranin (since 2014) who too, got busted for blood doping.
Kärp confessed to blood doping yesterday as well, and like Tammjärv, said the connection to Schmidt was made through Alaver.
 
Jan 7, 2019
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Thor de France said:
Apart from that I think you make som valid points, and I believe that if doping is made illegal everywhere and the ones that get caught is charged with crimes that has to do with fraud etc. and is investigated by the police more people will get caught. I trust the police far more than i trust the people in organisations like WADA, FIS, IBU and so on. It is well known with corruption in those kind of organisations and they also have to protect the interest of the sport to make money themselves. If the biggest profiles get caught, they lose interest, which leads to fewer people watching which leads to less interest/money from sponsors.
Interestingly in cross-country skiing the problem is different. Norway is so dominant that people are switching off. So frankly sponsors would "have to do" something to stop or at least decrease the Norwegian march to keep their investment.

But then again I don't know, how the financial things work there and maybe all key sponsors are Norwegian, who are perfectly happy with their dominance, and that's how it should be?

Johaug was caught though, so "big fishes" could be caught too if stars align. But indeed I can't ever imagine the whole Norwegian team being caught in the way Russians, Austrians or Finns have been caught in the past.
 
Jan 3, 2016
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BullsFan22 said:
Even with Sochi, the Russian men never dominated, sure, there was the 50km
3 russians on a podium were a bit of luck also, Cologna broke his ski just before the final climb.
 
Jan 3, 2016
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I am so disappointed with Polto. One day last summer I had a training session at the same roller track with him (and Nikita), his classic was just so amazing.
 
Jan 3, 2016
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search said:
Rider said:
wansteadimp said:
Any last minute injury withdrawals from the Biathlon World Champs yet?
Based on russian media Garanichev and Malyshko could face some problem.
this goes back to 2014 though, the way I understand it. So it has nothing to do with the Erfurt/Seefeld proceedings

https://www.sport-express.ru/biathlon/reviews/biatlon-chempionat-mira-skandal-s-dopingom-v-sbornoy-rossii-1520121/
Yes, you are right.
 
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wansteadimp said:
Any last minute injury withdrawals from the Biathlon World Champs yet?
No, but the opposite - Vishnevskaya has been cleared and is on her way to Östersund from Kazakhstan. She's the only one of the provisionally suspended nonet to have been cleared however. Malyshko is on the startlist for tomorrow's Mixed Relay, so they obviously don't anticipate any problems, but plenty of people on-site to step in regardless. A further problem for the Russians is that Margarita Vasileva has missed 3 tests in the course of a year (the last one was due to a failure to update the ADAMS system when she was called up to the North American World Cup rounds to which she was travelling when the testers turned up at her house in Krasnoyarsk). Her hearing was unsuccessful and she is therefore provisionally suspended, she will likely appeal within the next seven days. If she gets 2 years it's probably her career done, it's taken her until 27 to get into the national team and with younger names finally making their way through the system, and Akimova and Virolaynen to return from their baby breaks, they likely won't need her in a couple of years' time.
 

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