International Ski Federation bans three cross-country skiers, coach in doping case

OBERHOFEN, Switzerland -- The International Ski Federation banned three cross-country skiers and a coach on Monday in a doping case resulting from police raids at last year's world championships in Austria.

The federation said it gave four-year bans to former world championship medalist Alexei Poltoranin of Kazakhstan and Estonian skiers Karel Tammjarv and Andreas Veerpalu, as well as Estonian coach Mati Alaver.

Three Austrian skiers were given bans last year, including one who turned over evidence that brought the international doping ring to light. There have also been bans in cycling.

German authorities suspect a doctor in the city of Erfurt of heading a group that provided athletes with illicit blood transfusions in various countries.

The ski federation said that disciplinary proceedings are still under way against another Estonian skier, Algo Karp, and against Veerpalu's father, Andrus Veerpalu, a former skier who won two Olympic gold medals.