German federation wants exemption for suspended X-C skier Filbrich


German federation wants exemption for suspended X-C skier Filbrich{mosimage}LEIPZIG, Germany – German cross-country skier Jens Filbrich, who was suspended for five days after a suspicious blood test, has undergone a doping test and the German Ski Federation expects him to be clean.

Filbrich was prevented from racing the men’s World Cup cross-country 15-kilometer freestyle race Sunday in Kuusamo, Finland, after giving a haematocrit level reading of 17 – the limit permitted by the International Ski Federation.

FIS then suspended Filbrich for five days.

The German Ski Federation conducted its own doping test Sunday and said it was convinced the skier would pass.

An earlier report by Germany’s DPA news agency said the test had been negative, but the federation said later the results of the test would not be known for a few days.

Federation president Thomas Pfueller said the federation would again ask the FIS for an exemption for Filbrich. The athlete and the federation say his abnormal readings are due to a genetically high level of haematocrit. A similar request at the start of the season was turned down by the FIS.

An elevated haematocrit level is an indicator, though not proof, of the use of banned blood-boosting substances, such as EPO (erythropoietin), which works by boosting the oxygen-rich red-blood cells and thus allowing muscles to work for longer and recuperate better.

Pfueller said FIS had known for a long time that Filbrich has naturally high levels of haematocrit.

- The Associated Press

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