Monday, March 23, 2009

Dopity Dopity Dope

Cologna and Kowalczyk had barely set their new crystal globes down before the doping news started emerging yesterday.

In Austria, "an unnamed cyclist and former Austrian Nordic ski coach Walter Mayer, who was involved in the 2006 Turin Olympics doping scandal, have been arrested in connection with new doping allegations." Though the cyclist is being called "K" rather than being named, that letter happens to be the first letter in the surname of the disgraced climbing phenom Bernhard Kohl, who won (and the was stripped of) the King of the Mountains jersey at the '08 Tour de France. Mayer's hijinks at Torino led to lifetime Olympic bans for Austrian skiers J├╝rgen Pinter, Johannes Eder, Martin Tauber, and Roland Diethart and the biathletes Wolfgang Rottmann and Wolfgang Perner. The FIS also punished Eder, Tauber, and Diethard with two-year bans which will end in November 2009.

The most prominent and accomplished Austrian skier, Christian Hoffmann, narrowly avoided being caught up in the Mayer affair in Torino, but he was tripped up at Falun, where testing found his hemoglobin levels to be in excess of his normal profile and the FIS suspended him from competitions for two weeks. The Belarussian Sergei Dolidovich was also found to have overly high hemoglobin levels and received a five-day suspension from competition. Of course, the high hematocrit levels could result simply from natural overproduction and the effects of high-altitude training...

... Neither of which contributed to the positive test for EPO by the young - and successful - Russian sprinter, Natalia Matveeva at the Callaghan Valley World Cups. Her "B" sample will be tested on Tuesday, March 24.

Matveeva's countryman, Sergei Shiraev, fresh off a doping suspension handed down after the Sapporo World Championships, posted the fastest time in Sunday's 15km pursuit at Falun - nine seconds faster than Vincent Vittoz. Presumably, Shiraev is well rested. (Maddeningly, the Eurosport UK announcers couldn't explain why Shiraev hadn't raced in 2007 and 2008, and guessed that he'd just been on bad form, and fallen off the Russian team.)

I can affirm I doped with nothing but skiing science in the World Cup Prediction Challenge.


Kieran said...

Anyone know what happens if one part of a relay team gets busted for doping? The whole team get DQ'ed?

Christopher Tassava said...

I'd guess that the entire team would be DQ'd if one member tested positive. Without digging too deeply into the web, this appears to have happened at Lahti in 2001: the entire Finnish women's relay team was DQ'd and stripped of its silver after Kuitunen tested positive.