Russian cross-country skiers Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov have confirmed they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the International Ski Federation (FIS) refused to lift their provisional suspensions.
The pair were suspended in December after evidence in the McLaren Report suggested they were among Russian athletes whose doping samples had been tampered with.
Legkov won the Olympic 50 kilometres freestyle event on home snow at Sochi 2014 and was a member of the silver medal winning 4x10km relay quartet.
Belov’s best finish at Sochi 2014 was 18th in the skiathlon event, with Russia’s home Games now embroiled by allegations of a state-sponsored sample manipulation scheme.
Few details about any evidence has been revealed regarding the skiers with the CAS appeal always a likely scenario.
FIS members did not reach a unanimous verdict when opting to throw out the challenges from the Russians.
Photo: Evgeniy Belov has also filed an appeal ©Getty Images
“The appeals have been submitted,” Elena Vyalbe, the President of the Russian Cross–Country Ski Federation, told TASS.
Four other suspended cross-country skiers from Russia – Julia Ivanova, Evgenia Shapovalova, Alexey Petukhov and Maxim Vylegzhanin – currently have appeals in progress with the FIS.
Christof Wieschemann, a German lawyer representing Legkov and Belov, has claimed that evidence about the duo in the McLaren Report was “inconsistent“.
“The aim is still the cancellation of the provisional suspension,” he said today.
After rejecting the appeals of the skiers on January 25, the FIS said: “The FIS Doping Panel, after having heard Evgeniy Belov and Alexander Legkov, and the FIS, has decided today by majority not to reverse its initial decision, but to uphold the provisional suspensions of Evgeniy Belov and Alexander Legkov until further notice.
“As a result of the decisions, the above-mentioned athletes may not take part in any competitions or national team activities.
“The decisions of the FIS Doping Panel may be appealed exclusively to the CAS in Lausanne in accordance with the applicable provisions of CAS.
“The time to file an appeal to CAS is 21 days.”
The FIS stance to reject the appeals differed from that of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), which lifted provisional bans against Russian sliding athletes due to a “lack of evidence”.