Retired Russian biathletes caught in anti-doping net: IBU

Evgeny Ustyugov responded to Russian media reports that he is one of the retired biathletes in the sights of the sport's international governing body by asking why the suspicions are coming out now

Four Russian biathletes, three of whom are already retired, are accused of "violating anti-doping regulations", the embattled International Biathlon Union (IBU) said Thursday.

The IBU did not name the athletes in question but has "informed the Russian biathlon federation (CBR)", which has "14 days to respond to the notification".

The news comes during a testing time for the IBU, which in April saw its Norwegian president Anders Besseberg resign amid accusations that he pocketed hundreds of thousands of euros to help hide the positive doping results of Russian biathletes.

It also comes months after the McLaren report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), unveiled a vast, institutionalised system of doping throughout Russian sport.

Faced with the IBU's claims, the CBR replied that: "Three of the four athletes cited in this letter have since retired and the other no longer participates and is not training with the national team".

It added: "The CBR plans to investigate the athletes and their personal coaches. The results of this probe will be relayed at a later stage."

According to the statement, the CBR can legally name the athletes 14 days after they have been notified by the IBU, although Russian media reports claim Svetlana Sleptsova, former junior world champion Alexander Chernyshev and Yevgeny Ustyugov, the 2010 Olympic mass start champion, are among the culprits.

Ustyugov has already hit back, telling the Championat.com website: "I don't know anything about this. Why are these suspicions coming now, four years after I finished my career?

"They keep the (doping) samples for eight years, they can open them at any time."