MOSCOW -- Olympic cross-country ski champions Julia Chepalova and Yevgeny Dementiev retired Tuesday, a day after it was announced they tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO.
Russian Ski Federation president Vladimir Loginov said their decisions to retire "do not absolve them of responsibility" and "both will be disqualified."
A third Russian skier, Nina Rysina, also tested positive for EPO during a competition in France on Jan. 27. She asked for her backup sample to be tested.
"Unfortunately, this doping 'infection' has spread too deep," Loginov said. "We have no chance to check everyone every day or even every minute, even on the national team. But at the end of the investigation the necessary decisions will be taken."
On Monday, the International Ski Federation told the Russian federation that Chepalova and Dementiev tested positive during the Tour de Ski at Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Jan. 2-3.
Chepalova won gold medals at the Winter Games in 1998, 2002 and 2006. The 32-year-old skier was the world champion in 2001 and 2005 and won the World Cup in 2001. Dementiev, 26, captured the 30-kilometer men's pursuit at the 2006 Torino Olympics.
On Aug. 12, the International Biathlon Union suspended three Russians for two years for doping violations. Albina Akhatova, Yekaterina Iourieva and Dmitri Yaroshenko tested positive for EPO during a World Cup event last December in Ostersund, Sweden.