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Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tchepalova banned for positive EPO test

Associated Press

GENEVA -- The International Ski Federation has issued a two-year doping ban to Russia's triple Olympic gold medalist Julija Tchepalova.

FIS says the cross-country skier tested positive for the endurance-boosting drug EPO in January, and that the 33-year-old Russian is banned until August 2011.

Sarah Fussek of the FIS anti-doping administration said Thursday that Tchepalova's teammate Natalia Matveeva also was banned for EPO. Matveeva is out until March 2011.

Tchepalova won Olympic golds in the 30 km freestyle in 1998, the individual sprint in 2002 and with the Russian relay team in 2006.

She retired in August after her positive EPO test was announced.

A FIS statement said Tchepalova and Matveeva have three weeks to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.