February 6, 2018 / 10:35 AM / 6 months ago

Cross-country skiing: Clean athletes can still beat dopers - Harvey

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Recent revelations about doping may have cast a cloud over cross-country skiing, but clean athletes can still win at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, cross-country skier Alex Harvey told reporters on Tuesday.

Skiing - FIS Cross Country World Cup -1.5km Sprint Classic Finals - Lillehammer, Norway - December 2, 2017. Alex Harvey of Canada in action. NTB Scanpix/Terje Bendiksby/via REUTERS

There were reports of widespread blood doping in the sport and a number of athletes were banned and in some cases stripped of their medals following the International Olympic Committee’s investigation of doping in the Sochi Games.

“The beauty of cross-country skiing is that even people that cheat, it’s still possible to beat them because it’s not like cycling where you just cycle up a mountain for one hour and everybody’s bike is the same weight and there’s not much going on other than fitness,” Harvey told reporters.

“Our sport has been affected; cross-country skiing and biathlon are maybe some of the most affected by it if you read the reports from it,” the 29-year-old Canadian explained.

“In skiing, there’s the technique, there’s the equipment. So it’s still possible to beat people that are cheating - that’s what I’ve been telling myself my whole career, knowing that there were some people cheating but that it was still possible to beat them.”

Harvey said he is looking forward to the competitions on the course in Pyeongchang.

“Here, it’s a fair course. You’re going to need to be strong physically, but also smart tactically and have really good equipment, so I think it’s a really fair course.”

Reporting by Philip O'Connor; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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