MOSCOW, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Triple Olympic cross-country skiing champion Julija Tchepalova has received a two-year ban for doping, the Russian cross-country skiing federation (FLGR) said on Wednesday.
“We just received the news from the International Skiing Federation (FIS), saying Tchepalova had been banned for two years starting from August 2009,” FLGR chief Vladimir Loginov told Reuters.
Tchepalova, who turned 33 on Wednesday, tested positive for the blood-booster EPO at a World Cup event in Italy in January.
The Russian, who has denied any wrongdoing, last month wrote to Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, maintaining her innocence.
Tchepalova, who had been hoping to compete at next year’s Vancouver Olympics, said she would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“I will never give up the fight to clear my name. I know the truth is on my side,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
Tchepalova has been one of the sport’s most decorated athletes, winning an Olympic gold medal in three successive Winter Games and a host of world championship medals.
She captured her first Olympic title in the 30-km freestyle race — the longest cross-country event for women — at the 1998 Nagano Games and added a second in the 1.5-km sprint in Salt Lake City four years later. She was also a member of the victorious Russian relay team at the 2006 Olympics in Turin.
(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
The original article can be found here: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE5BM0ZN20091223