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Biathlon scandal gets ugly

Let's start by saying that no result is official, only the A-tests have come back positive and all athletes are entitled to have their B-sample analysed before being declared guilty. But it appears the Russians are in total denial that they are doing anything wrong.

Swedish biathlete Matthias Nilsson Jr commented on his blog "why is anybody surprised? The rest of the team will just continue as usual" and was bombarded with threats such as 'We'll be waiting for you in Khanty Mansiysk' (Russian venue for Biathlon World Cup event next month, and 'I hope you die from cancer'. Charming chaps. Anything to justify serial cheating. The comments and abuse have been picked up by various Scandinavian media channels. I copped a bunch of anonymous comments in Russian which meant nothing to me, followed by some abuse in English as well. Hence comments are now moderated...

Biathlon authorities are hopeful that the B-tests will be processed in time for the World Champs next week. Meanwhile the Russian team think they can cover it over by saying if they hold back certain biathletes from the World Champs, they can justify it by saying they're sick or injured. Hmm, wouldn't take Einstein to work out which ones they might be....

The drug in question is CERA, a thirsd generation of EPO. The testing for it isn't a quick process. These samples are believed to be from the first event of the season in Ostersund. CERA was first found in biathlon last year when Finnish cheat Kaisa Varis was busted for it. A middle-of-the-road competitor suddenly wins her first ever event... just a little suspicious. And she had priors, she'd been done for it before in cross-country skiing. This is not a drug with questionable hormone levels, this is out and out cheating. One strike should be enough to say goodbye to your career. Cycling had its share of CERA in last year's Tour de France.

It would be interesting to know just how many athletes were tested in Ostersund, and particularly from certain nations. Was it only these three that tested positive of all that country, or were they the only ones tested?

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