Russian cross-country skier thrown out of Olympic team

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Alena Sidko, one of Russia's top cross-country skiers, has been thrown out of their team for next month's Vancouver Olympics.

"We can confirm she is ineligible to compete. If you want to know why you must ask the Russian ski federation," International Ski Federation (FIS) anti-doping administrator Sarah Fussek told Reuters on Tuesday.

Local media reported Sidko tested positive for the blood-booster EPO at a home ski race last month.

Vladimir Loginov, president of the Russian ski federation, confirmed the 30-year-old had been kicked out of the Olympic team but would not say why.

Sidko had been considered a contender for medals in the sprint events in Vancouver after winning several World Cup races and finishing third at the 2006 Turin Olympics and at the world championships the previous year.

Last month, triple Olympic champion Julija Tchepalova of Russia, 2006 Olympic champion in the men's 30-km pursuit Yevgeny Dementiev and national champion Nina Rysina received two-year bans after positive tests for EPO.

(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov, editing by Tony Jimenez)