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German speed skate champion Pechstein banned for blood doping

Five-time Olympic speed skating champion Claudia Pechstein of Germany has been banned for two years from the sport by the ruling body, the ISU, for blood doping.

Claudia Pechstein waves

Pechstein is Germany's most successful winter Olympian

The ISU said on its website on Friday that it found Pechstein guilty of "the prohibited method of blood doping" from evidence gathered through the 37-year-old's blood sample.

Pechstein is Germany's most successful Winter Olympian, having won nine medals overall - five of them gold – between 1992 and 2006. She is also a six-time world champion and has 25 minor medals from the worlds.

The ISU said its decision was "based on the evidence of Ms Pechstein's (sample) which included abnormal values and abnormal changes of values in a series of tests (in particular in the tests conducted during the Essent ISU World Allround Championships held in Hamar on February 7-8, 2009)."

Pechstein was banned from February 9, 2009, until February 8, 2011, after the completion of a hearing on Monday and Tuesday.

As a result, she will miss the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and, given her age, may end her career. The ISU said Pechstein has chosen to appeal against the ban before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Pechstein's last title was the European all-round crown which she won in January in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. She did not medal at the worlds in Hamar, withdrawing after two of four events due to a fever.

Editor: Trinity Hartman

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