Doping in XC skiing

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Good points. This is why youngsters like Khalili and Reztsova weren't given a start, even though they likely deserved at least one start, particularly in the relays. Giving starts to past-their-prime athletes like Garannichev goes with what you said. I wouldn't have been shocked to see Malyshko getting a start, as he was towed around in wc races that he had no business being in as his results have declined, doping or not.

Back to the specific topic of doping, my point has always been that there is little to no chance that people at the top of the sport can race clean and win clean, especially not on a regular basis, if those below them are doping. I cannot see a way in which JT Boe is clean when his main competitor in the junior/youth ranks, Loginov, was caught doping. Both have won events as seniors and Boe has been dominant for a few seasons now, going back and forth with Fourcade, and in the last two seasons, overtaking the Frenchman as top man. Why should we believe that he is clean, if he's consistently beating someone like Loginov, who has failed a doping test and been suspended, someone that was his rival years ago?
Jan 7, 2019
Back to the specific topic of doping, my point has always been that there is little to no chance that people at the top of the sport can race clean and win clean, especially not on a regular basis, if those below them are doping.
I suspect that too. Even though there is no way to prove it, but I have grown cynical enough over the years. I can't trust any of them, lol.

The key matter in my view isn't so much about doping itself, but about finances and team support system each athlete has. I don't think athletes in top teams "do it on their own". It has too big of a risk of failure. I doubt athletes are really specialists in the details of performance enhancing drugs. That's what the medical team is for. Top teams have hired all kinds of specialists, who know how to operate in the medical world. Nothing happens without their prescriptions. And they are so smart that top teams basically never get caught. For that to happen somebody has to make a big mistake somewhere (i.e Finland 2001).

Those, who get caught, are often outsiders, who don't have that support system, perhaps don't really know that well about doping, and take a big risk on their own.
Great post by LS, that describes the inner workings of the Russian team.
I've heard even Walter Freaking Mayer talking about how it's often the regional teams/athletes on those team who go full crazy at the selection races, only to get caught when they compete at the highest level.
I would like to clear up a few points.

First of all, it appears that the French press is not as into Russia bashing as in other countries. In the general press as well as the sports press, most reporting on doping concerns French athletes, while covering international doping events as they occur but I have never sensed a bias against the Russians and certainly not blind belief that French athletes don't dope. I follow x-country and biathlon news on 2 French sites, which I suspected BullsFan22 ran as they systematiclly defend the Russian skiers as unfairly treated. never takes a position on doping. Their coverage of the Loginov incident was limited, factual and if anything favorable to him. On the other hand, there has been extensive coverage of the Cléménce Calvin situation, including numerous reports on Stade2 that are extremely critical of her and her entourage. The has also been extensive coverage of the Ophélie Claude Boxberger case, which is more like a trash novel than anything else.

Secondly, I tend to share BullsFan22's cynical attitude that doping is prevalent at the top levels, and I am often doubtful when a performance seems too good to be true. I certainly dont think it is only the Russians who dope, au contraire. But I also don't think the Russian athletes are victims - that is my personal opinion even if some don't agree.

I also believe, as has been pointed out above, that there is a huge disparity of resources that make it difficult for many countries to compete on an equal basis. Norway is an extremely rich country - not only do they have a tradition and culture around skiing they also have the financial means to be in a position to dominate. France has the means, what is missing is the ski culture. Russia and Eastern European nations can't compete in terms of resources so are at a disadvantage from the start. Life isn't always fair.
I think we can all agree that the Russian biathlon team is highly dysfunctional, more doping, less doping, no doping, doesn't matter, they won't fix their problems, at least not entirely, unless they get rid of people like Drachev. I think Libertine did a very good job of drawing things out.

They weren't really competitive. Loginov got them two medals. Yurlova-Percht did well in her races and there was decent showing in the men's individual. Loginov may have gotten another medal in the mass start had he raced due to his good form, but expecting medals from others at this time would be reaching for a goal far away. Yurlova-Percht needed to shoot exceptionally well, almost or basically clean, to win a medal in the individual and mass start, and she was contending for the medals until the last part, where she couldn't quite hit all her targets and she was never going to outski everyone.