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Andrus Veerpalu gets 3-year doping ban

OBERHOFEN, Switzerland -- Two-time Olympic cross-country skiing champion Andrus Veerpalu of Estonia has been banned for three years for doping with human growth hormone.

The International Ski Federation says its doping panel ruled that the 40-year-old Veerpalu is ineligible to compete or take part in any official event until Feb. 23, 2014 -- the final day of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Veerpalu can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Veerpalu tested positive in Estonia in January while preparing for the world championships in Norway the following month.

He later said he had retired from competition.

Veerpalu is a two-time world champion and won gold medals in the classical 15-kilometer races at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics.