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Skier Duerr apologises for doping offence

Austrian Nordic skier Johannes Duerr has apologised for taking performance enhancing drugs ahead of competing in the Sochi Winter Games, the exposure of which resulted in him being kicked off the Olympic team and called a "scoundrel" by colleagues.

"There's nothing left for me than to apologize to everyone. To my family, my wife," Duerr said. "So many people worked their butts off for me and I disappointed them with my stupidity. First of all I would simply like to apologise and everything else, all further steps, we'll see what comes my way. I don't know myself yet."

Duerr also spoke of some of the relief he felt following the discovery. "Part of me is happy that it came to an end," he said.

The cross country skier was due to compete on the final day at Sochi in the men's 50km before he tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO) on 16 February, the fifth athlete to have been caught taking enhancement drugs during the Games.

EPO, a blood booster enhancement drug that is more commonly associated with professional cyclists, has not been found to be used by any other athletes at Sochi.

The test took place in Austria where Duerr was resting ahead of the 50km race, having already taken part in the first cross country event on 9 February. Duerr had fared well in previous events, winning a World Cup race in Val di Fiemme and coming in third place in the Tour de Ski and was tipped for a podium spot at the 50km race.

Colleagues have expressed their dismay and anger at the news. "You can't describe it. This is the worst thing that I could not even dream about. The team is broken," said Austria's director for biathlon and cross country Markus Gandler. "We ripped our asses off for this dog and then you get deceived in this way. I'm sorry for the team that we had such a scoundrel."

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