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Wild Rumpus Sports

July 1 Roundup: Ex-Finnish skier handed suspended sentence in doping case, Northug criticized for poker

– On Thursday the Helsinki District Court sentenced former Finnish skier Jari Räsänen to 12 months for lying in a 1999 doping investigation, according to Sports Illustrated. The case opened up when the Finnish news service, STT, reported that Räsänen had taken team-provided performance enhancers during the height of his career, which included Olympic bronze in 1992 and 1994, both in the relay. At the time STT was convicted of libel for having no evidence.  The case reopened in 2008 when former coach Kari-Pekka Kyro went on TV to say that doping had been systematic on the Finnish team in the 1990s.  Räsänen was handed a 12-month suspended sentenced along with his former coach Pekka Vahasoyrinki, who was given 9 months for denying that he had supplied the drugs.

– Svetlana Hvostunkova (RUS) and Simone Paredi (ITA) won the third race of the rollerski World Cup in heavy rain in San Giacomo, Italy, on Wednesday in a 6.5 k classic uphill climb.

– Norwegian Industry Minister Trond Gisk is apparently disgusted with athletes like Petter Northug for participating in foreign poker tournaments every year, reports the NRK. Gisk confronted Northug at a seminar in Stavanger, telling reporters later that “when athletes brought up on the Norwegian sports model do this, they shoot themselves in the foot,” citing the fact that money spent on foreign gambling should instead go to the national sport system that nurtured them.  Northug’s spokesman defended the skier, saying that Northug comes from local sport, and should be allowed to “have a life” outside of skiing.  Northug is planning on coming to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker on July 9.

– On the topic of Northug, there have been no new reports on whether he will officially sign to stay on with the Norwegian National Team, forgoing the millions of dollars offered to him to be the leader of a private team.

– In other news, the 98th Tour de France starts tomorrow at 8 a.m. ET on Versus.  Fasten your heart rate monitors.