Lalluka A-Sample Positive for HGH, B-Sample Pending

FasterSkierNovember 14, 201111
Juha Lallluka (2nd from left in blue) in the lead pack at the World Championship 50k.

Finnish Newspaper Ilta Sanomat reports that cross-country skier Juha Lalluka (FIN) has tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH).

Lalluka’s A-sample came back positive—B-sample results are pending.

Lalluka, a relative unknown on the international race scene, has made occasional appearances at elite events, including last year’s World Championships where he placed an impressive eighth in the 50k freestyle, and skied the fastest third leg of the relay, tagging to teammate Matti Heikkinen in first place. The team ultimately finished fourth.

Known as somewhat of a “lone-wolf” in regards to training, according to Norwegian television commentator Torgeir Bjørn, Lalluka is considered innocent of all charges until the B-sample test is complete.

According to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Lallukka has not participated in national team activities since last season, and Finnish Head Coach Magnar Dalen gave assurance that the current National squad is clean.

“I can guarantee that the team has behaved properly,” reports Dalen as saying.

Dalen expressed hope that Lalluka’s B-sample would come back clean, but if it doesn’t, that all involved with the doping incident come forward.

“If an athlete is caught doping, he never operates alone,” Dalen said. “There must also be people in the background and they must come forward.”

If Lalluka is indeed guilty of doping, it will be a significant blow to a Finnish program that seemed to have finally recovered from the doping scandal of 2001. With relatively young stars such as Matti Heikkinen, Kristen Lahteenmaki and Sami Jauhojärvi providing consistent top results, the program appeared to have rebounded from an incident that resulted in six athletes being convicted for doping violations at the World Championships in Lahti.

Dalen called for a swift resolution to the issue, saying “If we want other countries and the cross-country community to believe that we are doing things properly, we must investigate single cases of doping thoroughly and quickly.”

FIS Anti-Doping Administrator Sarah Fussek referred all questions on the matter to the Finnish Ski Association.

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  • Lars

    November 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    This is just sad, Lalluka looked really good in the world championship to.
    Kinda hoped Finland was over its doping history.

  • davord

    November 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    HGH?? What was Lalluka planning on doing? Going to a New York Yankees tryout/training camp in a couple of months!?!

  • Martin Hall

    November 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Davord—here is some research info aout HGH:
    “In addition to increasing height in children and adolescents, growth hormone has many other effects on the body:
    Increases calcium retention, and strengthens and increases the mineralization of bone
    Increases muscle mass through sarcomere hyperplasia
    Promotes lipolysis
    Increases protein synthesis
    Stimulates the growth of all internal organs excluding the brain
    Plays a role in homeostasis
    Reduces liver uptake of glucose
    Promotes gluconeogenesis in the liver[29]
    Contributes to the maintenance and function of pancreatic islets
    Stimulates the immune system”

    I think these are enough reasons for a xc ski to use HGH since xc ski racing is considered to be a power endurance sport—strength and speed being the components that makes up power. Double poling is the way in xc racing now and for the future—both skate and classic—body make-up is becoming much more muscular—HGH is a real factor in this process and is the reason it is used.
    A very tempting drug for sure!

  • Ritu

    November 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    As an anabolic hormone GH promotes muscle mass, healing (of e.g. muscle injuries), can influence the mass/power ratio (by helping reduce fat mass), may have a positive effect on the heart, blood volume, increases aerobic capacity… among other things. Endurance training alone can counteract, for example, muscle growth, strength development/maintenance because a high volume of endurance training typically increases catabolic hormone concentrations. A tempting drug indeed (if you can avoid the potential side effects)… but a shame that other skiers and coaches in this country have to deal with this type of news… again.

  • teamepokeedsbyn

    November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Another cheatin’ douchebag. I am sure the B sample will come back negative 🙂

  • davord

    November 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Marty, I know (to certain cases and extents) why HGH is used and what some of the benefits are, I was just pointing out another sport that has its fair share of doping problems, specifically HGH. I was merely poking fun at a particular professional club which seems to endorse the use of HGH, hence with the news of Lalluka testing positive for this growth hormone, I wanted to enter a bit of ‘fun’ into the issue. If you or anyone else follows or has followed baseball the last 10-15 years, you and they would know what I am talking about. I just wonder who helped him get the HGH. Was it Kari-Pekka Kyrö or Greg Anderson?
    Hopefully this isn’t ‘team’ doping, because I was really getting pumped up for the Finns with Heikkinen and Lähteenmäki doing some serious damage last year!!

  • Cloxxki

    November 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    HGH, according to a journalist that took it as part of an underground research of doping practices, is also addictive, due to the changes it makes to your body and mind.
    You’d almost say that HGH should be mandatory for all civilians, and most definately banned for athletes. It does so much good.
    Let’s hope Lalluka can get off it, if the B sample comes back positive as well.

    You need to be realistic though. If you’re taking HGH, you’re not only not doing this by yourself. You’re taking other stuff as well.
    Who in their right minds decides to dope, and stick to one substance, and never something else?
    Come on, he’s a 50k hopeful. Blood doping is the foremost candidate. Undetectable if you pay the right people to help you out with it. Performance gains pretty much like the EPO era which gave us a legacy of impossible to beat cycling climbs and distance track times.

  • Vesa Suomalainen

    November 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    HGH has been used for years as the preferred recovery – simply allowing for more training. PRO cycling is full of stories about HGH use – just check Floyd Landis’ comments about it. Veerpalu was caught for HGH in January of this year, but most likely had used the drug for years as there was no test to detect HGH until 2010.

    I am Finnish and hail from the same home town as Lallukka. He’s been in and out of the national team over the last several years and has been prone to over training, blowing several seasons for simply trying too hard. The temptation must have been there to fix this problem with a simple drug. How he got access to it and who helped him administer it hopefully will come out. Lallukka was selected back into the national team last spring but was training on his own. He was caught by Finland’s own anti-doping organization.

    If there was more testing for HGH, it’s pretty clear there would more positives. The problem with FIS is that there’s little testing outside of World Cup race season – and only few of the national anti-doping organizations are actively trying to catch cheaters.

  • Kieran Jones

    November 14, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    For the record, Davord, it got a possibly slightly unprofessional chuckle out of me. I get where you’re coming from.

  • Lars

    November 15, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Maybe i`m super naive but i don`t think its team doping. Lalluka was a fringe member of the squad. I think the fins have learned from there previous scandal.
    Also i don`t think there Norwegian head coach would allow systematic doping.

  • MikeHGH

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