Russian cross-country skiers caught during the World Cup races in Whistler in January 2009 have been banned from competition until 2011.
Both Natalia Matveeva and Julija Tchepalova tested positive for the blood booster EPO, or erythropoietin, a hormone that enhances the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen. Synthetic EPO is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which developed a test for the substance in 2000.
Matveeva is banned from competition until March 12, 2011 and Tchepalova - a triple Olympic gold medalist - until Aug. 20, 2011. All competitive results since the date of the test are nullified, along with any medals, FIS points or prizes earned during that period.
The FIS Doping Panel will accept appeals for 21 days after their ruling on Dec. 28.
While the FIS Doping Panel was punishing skiers for an infraction in 2009, WADA released its official 2010 FIS Anti-Doping Rules this week, with a few major changes. One new substance has been added in the "Anabolic Agents" classification called methyltrienolone, as well as different forms of EPO under the new "Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors and Related Substances" category.
For athletes with asthma, salbutamol and salmeterol were knocked down a level but athletes still need to make a declaration of use and cannot exceed therapeutic doses recommended by physicians.
Athletes are no longer allowed to use supplemental oxygen. As well, pseudoephedrine, which was allowed in the past but monitored by WADA, is now prohibited.
According to WADA, "Results from the Monitoring Program over the past five years have shown a sustained increased in urinary concentrations of pseudoephedrine. In addition, there is clear evidence of abuse in some sports and some regions."
Athletes can still take medicine containing pseudoephedrine, but cannot exceed 150 micrograms per milliltre of blood.
More information is at www.fis-ski.com.