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Gotland

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Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
« on: January 09, 2014, 11:52 »
Recently, several threads has touched the subject. I'm probably guilty of bringing  the subject on the table, so I thought why not create a thread for XC-skiing. The sport has similarities with cycling as it had a dark past during the 90's  with massive use of EPO and other PED's, plus blood profiles that sky rocketed.  Why not talk about doping and skiing it's winter after all in Europe  :D
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  • « Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 12:07 by Gotland »
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    Gotland

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 11:57 »
    JSG what doping rumours for Swedish XC-skiiers? The only one I've heard is that Marcus Hellner (I think it was him)  is on the juice. Don't be shy JSG, spit it out!

    NB: I've never claimed that Swedish skiiers are clean today. However, much evidence indicate that Swedish skiiers was clean during the dark 90's. Blood profiles and not winning in a sport we used to dominate is a clear indicator to me.
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #2 on: January 09, 2014, 12:14 »
    Ok here is the story as remember.

    Before epo hit Belgium and Holland, a Swedish pharmaceutical got hold of the product and someone though hmmm wonder if this would be good for endurance sports.

    they then approached the Danish Cycling fed. Explained how things worked and the possible benefits. The Danish fed said no thanks too dangerous,  the pharmaceutical then went to the Swedish xc team, who thought it was a great idea to test the product.

    I have no idea what level they used or not used epo, this was mid 80's before the so called reported cycling deaths in the low lands.

    so if rumors are true Finland introduced blood transfusions in sport in 1968 and Sweden epo mid 80's.

    again not sure if and when they stopped or how upset Bjarne was that Danish cycling said no ;)
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 12:40 »
    Yeh, the Swedes and Finns may have been aided by blood doping but by the mid 90s the Norwegians managed to claw back their advantage with superior waxing.
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #4 on: January 09, 2014, 12:50 »
    Ok here is the story as remember.

    Before epo hit Belgium and Holland, a Swedish pharmaceutical got hold of the product and someone though hmmm wonder if this would be good for endurance sports.

    they then approached the Danish Cycling fed. Explained how things worked and the possible benefits. The Danish fed said no thanks too dangerous,  the pharmaceutical then went to the Swedish xc team, who thought it was a great idea to test the product.

    I have no idea what level they used or not used epo, this was mid 80's before the so called reported cycling deaths in the low lands.

    so if rumors are true Finland introduced blood transfusions in sport in 1968 and Sweden epo mid 80's.

    again not sure if and when they stopped or how upset Bjarne was that Danish cycling said no ;)

    It may have some truth in it. Many early papers on performance enhancing and blood transfusion (70's), or EPO (80's-90's) were written by Swedish authors. It is not unlikely that someone put two and two together. On the other hand, that story would have been public by know.

    The sport is very small almost like a family, and its athletes in especially in the 70's and 80's were famous for being stubborn and pig-headed ie. practioners were not the most sociable people. Someone would probably have an old score to settle and tell media about it by now.

    There's a famous clip on Thomas Wassberg who has just won a 50 km race. His beard is covered in ice and snot, and he's telling –telling is to kind he hisses like a snake– every reporter who wants a comment to flip off.

    Another anecdote about Thomas Wassberg, is when he was voted as best athlete of the year in 1980. He refused to accept the prize because he thought that it was unfair that another skiier (Sven-Åke Lundbäck) wasn't nominated in 1978. He accepted the reward last year at the 2013 gala.
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #5 on: January 09, 2014, 12:54 »
    Yeh, the Swedes and Finns may have been aided by blood doping but by the mid 90s the Norwegians managed to claw back their advantage with superior waxing.
    Superior waxing, cross-country skiing's "high cadence". :D
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #6 on: January 09, 2014, 13:07 »
    Bengt Saltin's  slides IDAN-presentation from -06 shows quite nicely how the sport developed .  Among many things notice the drop in blood levels after the introduction of  the test for EPO.

    http://www.powershow.com/view/5bbd2-ODNjN/Visions_plans_and_hopes_can_the_doping_culture_be_changed_powerpoint_ppt_presentation
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #7 on: January 09, 2014, 13:10 »
    Superior waxing, cross-country skiing's "high cadence". :D

    On a serious note, preparation and waxing of the skiis make a huge difference in XC-skiing. Norway made a breakthrough in late 80's and had a huge advantage in the material.  Having a good technique is also beneficial for XC-skiiers because they can't draft as cyclists can.
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #8 on: January 09, 2014, 13:16 »
    It may have some truth in it. Many early papers on performance enhancing and blood transfusion (70's), or EPO (80's-90's) were written by Swedish authors. It is not unlikely that someone put two and two together. On the other hand, that story would have been public by know.

    The sport is very small almost like a family, and its athletes in especially in the 70's and 80's were famous for being stubborn and pig-headed ie. practioners were not the most sociable people. Someone would probably have an old score to settle and tell media about it by now.

    There's a famous clip on Thomas Wassberg who has just won a 50 km race. His beard is covered in ice and snot, and he's telling –telling is to kind he hisses like a snake– every reporter who wants a comment to flip off.

    Another anecdote about Thomas Wassberg, is when he was voted as best athlete of the year in 1980. He refused to accept the prize because he thought that it was unfair that another skiier (Sven-Åke Lundbäck) wasn't nominated in 1978. He accepted the reward last year at the 2013 gala.

    not sure it would be public Sweds are great at glossing over stuff that looks bad, as an outsider looking in this imo.

    look at WWII as an example, and look at cycling we have no real idea what went on and the river bank broke with Willys Chain.

    but it is a fun rumor
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #9 on: January 09, 2014, 13:23 »
    Bengt Saltin's  slides IDAN-presentation from -06 shows quite nicely how the sport developed .  Among many things notice the drop in blood levels after the introduction of  the test for EPO.

    http://www.powershow.com/view/5bbd2-ODNjN/Visions_plans_and_hopes_can_the_doping_culture_be_changed_powerpoint_ppt_presentation


    - That slide show is fascinating and to me shows that XC skiing were well advanced on cycling on controls, biological passport etc..., which makes the UCI of being first etc rather lame
    - I also am assuming that there is less money in XC skiing than cycling which makes the excuse of not enough money rather lame
    - I was amazed at the difference that altitude makes on the blood profile

    Am I reading it correctly?

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #10 on: January 09, 2014, 13:32 »


    in swedish but one of the greatest doped performance in sports by Johann Mühlegg  and one of the greatest non doped by Per Elofsson, who went so deep damaged his heart muscles and was never tge same again ( well thats the rumor)

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #11 on: January 09, 2014, 13:38 »
    - That slide show is fascinating and to me shows that XC skiing were well advanced on cycling on controls, biological passport etc..., which makes the UCI of being first etc rather lame
    - I also am assuming that there is less money in XC skiing than cycling which makes the excuse of not enough money rather lame
    - I was amazed at the difference that altitude makes on the blood profile

    Am I reading it correctly?

    Yes you are reading it correctly. Altitude tents or training high/living low can be used as a masking agent for EPO/Blood transfusions.

    There's no doubt that UCI was first with the blood passport and the UCI ABP is much more advanced compared to skiing. However, FIS are more rigorous in their testing and obtain better data compared to cycling.

    I think FIS has used the no start rule to greater extent than cycling. I tried to ask Jonathan Vaughters about the latter but I didn't get a good aswer more than it was implented in 1997.
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #12 on: January 09, 2014, 16:27 »
    - That slide show is fascinating and to me shows that XC skiing were well advanced on cycling on controls, biological passport etc..., which makes the UCI of being first etc rather lame

    maybe, whether the sport has changed thereby is be a different story though - it certainly has for Finland after the big blow in 2001 and I think most of today's finish athletes in winter sports are clean, but the reason for that may also just be capping the budget to 10% or something like that
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    Gotland

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #13 on: January 09, 2014, 21:36 »
    not sure it would be public Sweds are great at glossing over stuff that looks bad, as an outsider looking in this imo.

    look at WWII as an example, and look at cycling we have no real idea what went on and the river bank broke with Willys Chain.

    Interesting, at least the WWII part. What has Sweden glossed over in your opinion?

    The other things I didn't understand.  What cycling? Which river bank? Who is Willy and what is wrong with his chain?  :slow
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  • « Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 22:53 by Gotland »

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #14 on: January 10, 2014, 05:25 »
    Interesting, at least the WWII part. What has Sweden glossed over in your opinion?

    The other things I didn't understand.  What cycling? Which river bank? Who is Willy and what is wrong with his chain?  :slow



    River banks  burst is an expression meaning we got some inside knowledge of what was going on.

    the swedish stuff purhaphs another day
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #15 on: January 10, 2014, 09:09 »


    River banks  burst is an expression meaning we got some inside knowledge of what was going on.

    the swedish stuff purhaphs another day

    Okay, I see. I would be interesting to know the Swedish stuff too. You've referenced to it a couple of times now :)
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #16 on: January 13, 2014, 16:47 »
    This is a very interesting graph.  It is notable how high Norwegian blood levels are in 1998. Also of interest is how much blood levels decrease in FIS screening after the test for EPO was introduced.
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #17 on: January 16, 2014, 16:46 »
    Looks like that Norwegian guy was referring to Winter Sports...

    http://www.biathlonews.com/mads-drange-book-about-doping-in-norway-shakes-sports-3-weeks-before-sochi/

    It would have been too much for me if he was referring to EBH.
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #18 on: January 16, 2014, 17:37 »
    Looks like that Norwegian guy was referring to Winter Sports...

    http://www.biathlonews.com/mads-drange-book-about-doping-in-norway-shakes-sports-3-weeks-before-sochi/

    It would have been too much for me if he was referring to EBH.

    If a Norwegian rider should be named it's more likely that it is one from the darkside generation rather than EBH. He was only 20 in 2007. I doubt he made it in to their national blood profiling programme, or even was targeted, before turning pro and moved abroad.

    Cycling is too small in Norway, and for a government employee to be bitter and write a tell all book about the current situation. Main target must be skiing because the sport is so huge. Outside the national teams there are several professional teams competing in Ski Classics, races that are 50+ km.

    We'll have to wait an see if some blood profiles are leaked. The reason Mads Drange wrote his book was to criticise the system and not individual athletes.

    On a different note, this book gives some credit to the Finnish documentary about the darkside era in XC-skiing and a follow up story made by the  correspondent for Swedish Television in Helsinki, Hasse Svens.

    Unfortunately, Hasse Svens dabbled with the story. He was a little bit to eager to name names in search for a scoop without having substantial proof, or having a experts onboard to talk about what a blood profile actually mean.  Representatives from the Norwegian skiing associaion sat on a live debate programme in Sweden. They pointed fingers towards Hasse Svens, and with appalled voices screamed "How dare you accuse us of doping".


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  • Xe.no

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #19 on: January 21, 2014, 21:29 »
    There is no doubt it's been a substantial dark side to xc-skiing during the 90's and early 00's. Finnish "Ferrari imitator" Kari-Pekka Kyrö and his shenanigans is well known from the scandal in Lahtis 2001. The fact that his team and project was beaten more often than not by Norwegians, Swedes, Germans and Italians probably says a lot. There is only so much access to the new and best wax can do for you  ;)

    Quote
    The reason Mads Drange wrote his book was to criticise the system and not individual athletes.
    This is the only thing he's been repeating in all his interviews. He was given the task to establish blood profiles. He found irregularities with the profiles of former and still active athletes. When he showed his findings to his superiors they turned it down for various reasons (e.g. not analysed at WADA labs, no clear rules on how to prosecute..) My understanding out of his interviews is that his frustration with a system that to the public seems sufficient, but in reality is incredibly hard to get a conviction or even initiate a investigation other than targeted testing seems to be the motivation here. He sees the system as  easy to cheat.

    He has worked with more sports than xc-skiing. The focus on that in the media is because of the sports status in Norway and the winter olympics coming up. He might have created profiles on any sport really. But probably focused on endurance. So while EBH probably is too young, he might have created profiles on e.g. Thor and Kurt Asle  :-x

    This is what I've gathered form his interviews. I have not yet got hold of the book, but I'm planning to read it over the next couple of weeks. In between screaming my head of skiing down french alps way too fast  :o  :S

    As for Johann Mühlegg, I don't even.. I'ts just.. I mean.. Poor Per  :( He never truly was the same after that. Massive talent destroyed by the German/Spanish monster that didn't even noticed he plowed his face through the snow
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #20 on: February 09, 2014, 13:55 »
    Ole Einar Björndalen 40 years old runner, training alone, faster than the rest, missed an antidoping test in October won Olympic gold? Does this raise any question? Okay, you have to be a good shot aswell.
    Same with Cologna. He left Hellner so easily today in that final climb.
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #21 on: February 09, 2014, 14:06 »
    Ole Einar Björndalen 40 years old runner, training alone, faster than the rest, missed an antidoping test in October won Olympic gold? Does this raise any question? Okay, you have to be a good shot aswell.
    Same with Cologna. He left Hellner so easily today in that final climb.

    Welcome

    it does raise a eyebrow or 2
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  • Gotland

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #22 on: February 09, 2014, 14:17 »
    Ole Einar Björndalen 40 years old runner, training alone, faster than the rest, missed an antidoping test in October won Olympic gold? Does this raise any question? Okay, you have to be a good shot aswell.
    Same with Cologna. He left Hellner so easily today in that final climb.

    Dario Cologna was more of an raised eyebrow to me compared to Björndalen. The latter has done some quite good results in previous competitions this season and he has belonged to the best biathletes for a very long time. But still the achievement of Chris Horner is ringing very loud – this is the darkside section after all :D
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  • « Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 14:45 by Gotland »

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #23 on: February 09, 2014, 14:41 »
    There is no doubt it's been a substantial dark side to xc-skiing during the 90's and early 00's. Finnish "Ferrari imitator" Kari-Pekka Kyrö and his shenanigans is well known from the scandal in Lahtis 2001. The fact that his team and project was beaten more often than not by Norwegians, Swedes, Germans and Italians probably says a lot. There is only so much access to the new and best wax can do for you  ;)

    I have to  disagree with you on the opening paragraph. Swedish XC-skiers were crap during the whole 90's.  We barely won nothing during that decade. Whilst Norway won a lot of competitions and medals plus had sky high blood valued see posted graph.

    The Norwegian advantage in waxing was during the 90's (still is today) but  most countries caught up on Norwegian advantage during the following  decade. Waxing is huge issue in XC-skiing (in the context of what matters in a cycling world) and shouldn't be dissmissed with a smiley imho.

    Actually, it was the finns who introduced blood doping to the Italians i.e. Conconi. He had two PhD students named Ferrari and Cecchini. Finland have/had a very long tradition of blood manipulation/doping since 1960's. On the other hand maybe the Italian team with a Finnish trainer  *coach*  preparatore godfather did something that got unnoticed to Kyrö and the Finnish team.

    As for Mads Drange you can't be that bitter unless you are talking about XC-skiing in Norway. I can't think of another endurance sport that could envoke such bitterness in a public employee.
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  • « Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 08:58 by Gotland »

    Xe.no

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #24 on: February 10, 2014, 23:27 »
    I have to  disagree with you on the opening paragraph. Swedish XC-skiers were crap during the whole 90's.  We barely won nothing during that decade. Whilst Norway won a lot of competitions and medals plus had sky high blood valued see posted graph.

    This is true. Inaccurate wording on my part. My intention was to state that swedes has been a force in the sport during the last decade++. But you are correct in that it probobly started after Lahtis.

    The wax advantage has been huge. And especially in the big competition seasons during the 90's. Back then they could keep a new wax secret for a hole season or more. But as time passed and that side of the sport got more and more commercialized the time window where the manufacturers are willing to keep a product off the market has shrunk. The last time I can remember where it really was an advantage in quality in product was Salt Lake olympics in 2002. The norwegian "secret weapon" was revealed just before or during the games. Swix had a new BD (black devil) glider wax developed to give superior results in the dirty snow that only was available to the norwegian teams. This is where the smiley comes in. It was supposed to have "(see Mühlegg)" behind. Didn't work against him as he decided to eat the snow instead (here it comes again)  ;) The wax advantage has changed. What we see today has more to do with quantity and budget rather than quality in product. Bigger ski parks for each athlete gives diversity in different conditions. And e bigger chance of stumbling over a "super pair" of skis (not every pair is equally good). Bigger ski parks means a bigger team to look after them. Testers and waxers (is that what it is called in english?), which means bigger budget. And here Norway is the daddy, no doubt. Of course more people and money means they can experiment, but from my point of view the advantage from the wax manufacturers is gone.

    The most recent strides in technology up against big competitions has come in equipment. Rub-skis, bindings and shoes. These advantages is first spread to the athletes on the best equipment contracts with the manufacturers. Norway does have many of the stars in the sport so our top athletes are never lagging behind.

    The comparison to Ferrari was only to make an cycling audience understand  Kyrö's trainer/pharmacist role in the team.

    I've read the book. And to be honest it's not nearly as controversial as the media suggests. For anyone familiar with the dark side on this site nothing should come as a surprise. The antidoping work is underfunded, lacking academic expertise and suffering from the ability to do something about the quality of the work. Not just boast about the increased number of test. Not really sure if I would recommend it for someone already interested in the antidoping side of sports. Maybe if it had been a bit better written. He seemed to have been in a hurry in some sections. But for a "why are not antidoping succeeding? - the introduction" it is qite good. It goes a bit deeper than that, but it's not really revolutionizing.
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  • Gotland

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #25 on: February 11, 2014, 17:39 »

    Testers and waxers (is that what it is called in english?), which means bigger budget.
    Let us call them testers and waxers. In a cycling context, ski preparator has a certain negative connotation  :D

    Quote
    I've read the book. And to be honest it's not nearly as controversial as the media suggests. For anyone familiar with the dark side on this site nothing should come as a surprise. The antidoping work is underfunded, lacking academic expertise and suffering from the ability to do something about the quality of the work. Not just boast about the increased number of test. Not really sure if I would recommend it for someone already interested in the antidoping side of sports. Maybe if it had been a bit better written. He seemed to have been in a hurry in some sections. But for a "why are not antidoping succeeding? - the introduction" it is qite good. It goes a bit deeper than that, but it's not really revolutionizing.

    Interesting that you downplayed the content in his book.  Mads Drange said publicly that some Norwegian athletes had the tell tale signs of blood manipulation, and after the test for EPO was introduced some athletes' profiles went back to normal values whilst others went *cleanish* i.e. manipulating within thresholds. Do you have any idea whom Mads Drange were talking about?
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  • Xe.no

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #26 on: February 11, 2014, 19:47 »
    Well for someone that still is under the impression that in my (insert any country) country no one is doping, only dirty cheating foreign scumbag countries do, the book would give you a shock (for norwegians in this case) or confirmation (for non norwegians). I have never been under the impression that every athlete in Norway has been or is clean. That some athletes was blood doping and changed behavior after a test was developed, either stopped or adjusted their method, is expected. This is the same changes seen in athletes in any sport that benefits from blood doping around the same time. For someone who know something about the history of druguse in sports, this should not be a surprise. If you are someone that were totally oblivious, you should read the book. But the problem really is that if you to this day don't belive anyone from your country could possibly be doping, then you probably are uniterested in reading a book about it anyways. So I doubt the book reaches the audience it should and could have educated.

    There is not even remoteley close to be enough information in the book to take a guess at an specific athlete. Hardly enough to guess at wich sports is involved. But from common sense and his interviews there is little doubt xc-skiiers is involved. The only examples he mentions by name is the three biggest doping cases in Norway the last decade.

    Steffen Kjærgaards (us postal) case is too old for Drange to have been involved in directly. He describes the aftermath of this case with the medias coverage, and how he saw it form "the other side".

    The Vukicevic case where no athletes was directly involved. An e-mail conversation between a sprint and hurdles trainer and a sport doctor with a shabby reputation had been released to the media by the trainers ex-wife. They had been excanging a doping recipe. The trainer clamed the documents was a forgery and before a decision was made the court decided the case exceeded the statute of limitations. And it was dropped.

    Erik Tysse. Norwegian speed walker popped for EPO. In this case an blood profile that indicated manipulation might have been present. Drange never says so directly, but it is possible this is one example that led to more and targeted testing from the antidoping authorities. The positive test came at an event in Italy. Tysse and for the most part his defence team made a real sh*tstorm in the media to try to make the test look weak. And Drange describes his frustration in not beeing able to debunk their claims in the media.
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #27 on: February 17, 2014, 08:51 »
    Been a very interesting last few days for the Cynics like me

    There has been a lot of talk re *no not really doping but there is stuff

    apparently the team helps Drs, wax dept ect has grown and grown to become this unmanageable unit, they have had huge issues with the salting of the tracks ( what do you call them in english :fp I am *au for those that do not know but most of my cx terms are *se been here too long it seems  ) , the team has also spent a huge amount of time at altitude and may have failed to peak at the right time due to the amount of time at altitude

    But *no won early and have had recovery issues so the cynic in me thinks maybe the Book has meant the preparation has be less, and only while away from Sochi.

    add the waxing war won by *se and we have the disappointment of the last few days , will be watching the 30 km and 50 km with interest   
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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #28 on: February 17, 2014, 10:02 »
    Been a very interesting last few days for the Cynics like me

    There has been a lot of talk re *no not really doping but there is stuff

    apparently the team helps Drs, wax dept ect has grown and grown to become this unmanageable unit, they have had huge issues with the salting of the tracks ( what do you call them in english :fp I am *au for those that do not know but most of my cx terms are *se been here too long it seems  ) , the team has also spent a huge amount of time at altitude and may have failed to peak at the right time due to the amount of time at altitude

    But *no won early and have had recovery issues so the cynic in me thinks maybe the Book has meant the preparation has be less, and only while away from Sochi.

    add the waxing war won by *se and we have the disappointment of the last few days , will be watching the 30 km and 50 km with interest

    As far as the lingo BBC used "spår" (å is pronounced the same way as au in "naught" using RP) = tracks and waxing for warmer conditions is "klister" (translates to glue in english). I think the BBC spoke of the spår today is klister conditions and "the klister conditions today" makes it difficult to wax the skies.

    There's lot of speculation why the Norwegians have "failed". They have 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 3 bronze medals in cross country skiing alone. Which would make a excellent  result for olympic games in Sweden. Maybe Xe.No can fill us in or correct me if I'm wrong.

    Basically I think the Norwegians has misjudged that the cross country course is super hard and at altitude and difficult waxing conditions. Add the dent in the armour from the pressure to perform

    Norway usually spend very much time at altitude preparing for competitions. They are very good at peaking their form at championships. The reason for their failure is somewhere that they maybe trained at to low altitude. Sotji being acutally at higher altitude than the map says. I'd say this one is not likely because every modern pulsmeter/stopwatch comes with an altittude meter someone somewhere must have looked at it. More likely that information has been ignored by the Norwegians fore some reason though.

    However, Norway did compete at Tour de Ski (A competition that stretch over several days  with back to back stages copying a grand tour in cycling i.e. Tour de France) and they did very well at the competition. Normally cross country skiers are not used to back to back racing. Usually they have a day or two between competitions. Therefore, Tour de  Ski is a very hard and there's considerable wear and tear on the skiers.

    Personally I think they have raced too hard and not coming in to the Olympic games rested enough and  now we see that the altitude does take its toll on performance. Combined with waxing promblems and pressure to perform. A small setback becomes larger than it really is and you start to underperform.

    It's going to be interesting if they can establish confidence in they waxing team, if so, Norwegians will be fighting for the medals.

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    Re: Doping in XC Skiing & Biathlon
    « Reply #29 on: February 21, 2014, 09:52 »
    http://wintergames.ap.org/article/german-athlete-tests-positive-sochi-olympics

    at first I expected the usual positive olympic stoned snowboarder test for THC, but apparently it is a DSV (Deutscher Skiverband) athlete, propably Biathlon. Most likely it's Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle who wasn't nominated for today's biathlon relay despite being the best german (4th) in the mass start a couple of days ago
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