The cheating scandal is NOT closed

The Worldloppet Newsletter No. 2 which appeared on February 3 contained an article “Cheating case closed”. WL had remained completely silent about this scandal since May 2016, when a group of skiers, members of IAWLS discovered the cheating system and reported it to WL. We had already heard a few words about it from Angelo Corradini in his welcome speech at the reception of WL Masters in Cavalese on January 29. He gave a surprising interpretation of the WL Annual General Meeting’s decision last June (it decided that the three cheats are not any more welcome at WL races): “That they are not welcome does not mean that they cannot come. They can come but they are not welcome”. Strange joggling with words that has no meaning.

In fact Corradini wanted to defend the attitude of the WL management. We had already been informed by the WL CEO that the cancellation of all Master titles obtained by cheating is, in her opinion, a sufficiently severe punishment.

WL skiers cannot accept this policy. The cheating did not occur in one race. We are in the presence of a repeated cheating system over a period of seven years where each of the culprits was involved in at least eight races where the system was applied. This is an offense to all WL Masters who have honestly struggled to reach this prestigious title that they are proud of.

The cheating could have continued forever, had not a group of perspicacious IAWLS members discovered it. The WL Magazine article does not contain a word of thanks to that group. The article mentioned that 9 Master titles were removed from the three cheats (one third of the total!), and that they were told that they were not welcome at any WL event this season. The WL president’s words were a little different: “We must be strict and hard. With a one- year ban justice is done”. Which one-year ban? The cheats have registered and participated in all WL races since the beginning of 2017 as if nothing has happened. Were they not warned that if they come they are not welcome?

Dear WL managers, your weak and lacking handling of the case is inacceptable for WL skiers. We have gotten many angry feedbacks on this. It is not enough that “the concerned skiers have apologised, learned from their mistake and promised that it will never happen again”. An organized, repeated cheating system is not a mistake, it is a planned activity that must be punished. For the more than 3000 WL Masters and almost 15000 passport holders the “not welcome” sentence can have only one meaning: these cheats are banned from WL races and certainly banned from any more masters. To see these faces in Worldloppet races reminds us of large scale cheating – not a good feeling.

Posted in News 2017 | 1 Comment

Marcialonga 2017

Bravissimi Marcialonga organizers !

(French version of this article is below the english one)

One more success for the Marcialongas team, expert users of trucks, shovels… and snow cannons in order to offer us a very beautiful race. Not the least gram of snow on the sides but a splendid snow avenue for this 44th edition of Marcialonga.

Only 57 km, the usual 13 km climb after the start being replaced by 5 km of gently ascending flat (nobody protested about that). As usual we crossed those villages and the final climb was rather hard in the sun !

Start almost without problems thanks to the famous «Ideal Start» promoted by Hannes Larsson, again present  and fit in spite of his 86 years. Hats off to the artist ! Mostly three tracks were available and that made it possible for the fastest skiers to overtake by continuously changing tracks. Fortunately the nights had remained cool and the snow had kept its quality in the cold.

The 1000 first skiers probably skied without grip wax using double poling (except maybe in the last 3 km). In the rear numerous Norwegians were frightened (without reason) in the slightest descents or turns, a pity. This Marcialonga remained very nordic with at the finish 1681 Norwegians, 1088 Swedes and 233 Finns (a total of 3000 scandinavians and Finns) compared to 1993 Italians, some 50 Swiss and 30 French and Austrians, although they are neighbours. There was even a man from Israel who had been recently the subject of numerous articles on ski-websites. You can see his picture in the Russian article (visible in the list «More articles on the WL cheating scandal»  on this website).

We enjoyed a nice reception of WL Masters with the presence of the new CEO Epp Paal, where some multiple Masters were celebrated : Hannes Larsson (30 Masters), Minoru Matsuyama and Liudmila Kolobanova with 13 Masters, same for Jay Wiener and myself. Liudmila managed to win her age group (over 70) with the excellent time of 2 :33 in the Marcialonga Light. Brava, Madame !

Thanks to Angelo Corradini and his team for offering us such a beautiful Marcialonga.

Results from IAWLS members are at the end of the french text.

French version: Bravissimo la Marcia !

Encore une prouesse réussie par les petites mains de la Marcialonga qui ont su manier les camions, la pelle… et les canons à neige pour nous offrir une course de toute beauté.

Par un gramme de neige sur les à-côtés mais  un ruban neigeux  superbe pour les concurrents de cette 44ème édition de la Marcialonga.

Seulement 57 km : la côte du départ réduite à un faux plat montant de 5 km (nul ne s’en plaignait), toujours ces villages traversés par les rues principales … et la montée finale, rude, car en plein soleil !

Départ sans (trop) de tracas grâce au fameux « départ idéal » cher à Hannes Larsson, toujours présent et d’attaque malgré ses 86 ans. Chapeau l’artiste !

Le plus souvent trois pistes permettant aux plus rapides de doubler en changeant continuellement de traces !

Heureusement les nuits sont restées fraiches et la neige bien conservée au froid.

Devant les mille premiers ont  sans doute skiés sans fart, tout en double poussée (sauf peut être les 3 derniers km). Derrière les norvégiens de loin les plus nombreux se sont fait peur (sans raison) à la moindre descente, au premier virage ! Dommage.

Du reste cette Marcialonga est restée très nordique : avec classés à l’arrivée :  1681 norvégiens, 1088 suédois et 236 finlandais (au total plus de 3000 scandinaves et finnois) contre 1993 italiens, une cinquantaine de suisses et une trentaines de français ou autrichiens pourtant voisins. Il y eut même à l’arrivée … un israélien qui fit beaucoup couler d’encre ces derniers temps sur les sites spécialisés de ski nordique…

Sympathique réception des Masters WL  (en présence de la nouvelle Présidente de la WL, Epp Pal) où furent fêtés pour leurs innombrables masters : Hannes Larsson (bientôt 30 fois master !), Minoru Matsuyama et Lioudmila Kolobanova : chacun en piste pour leur treizième Master (comme Jay Wiener et moi-même…).

Lioudmila réussit le dimanche à se classer première de sa catégorie (plus de 70 ans) en réalisant le très bon chrono de 2h33 pour la Marcia Light (33 km). Bravo madame !

Merci à Angelo Corradini et toute son équipe pour nous avoir offert un si beau week end.

Boris Petroff

Quelques résultats

André Hazard (Belgique) 4h17

Jay Wiener (USA) 5h34

Minoru Matsuyama (Japon) 5h00

Hervé Courtine (F) 4h51 , Boris Petroff (F) 4h12, Sophie Courtine (F) 4h06, David Damoizet (F) 4h16, Joseph Luce (F) 7h33,Patrice Turlan (F) 5h51,Jacques Broussou 5h41,Daniel Montgermont (F) 6h02, Baptiste Hiriart3h25, Gérard Hiriart (F) 5h33

Josep Kral et Iwana Kralova (Cz) 5h44

Grant Mac Leod (Canada) 5h42

Sergeï Ivanov (Russie) 2h31

Posted in Race reports 2017 | Leave a comment

Dolomitenlauf 2017

This years race was a delight. Sunny, cold, good tracks and well done arrangements.

Both classic and freestyle races were held in Obertilliach as usual the last years. For those staying in Lienz the shuttle buses worked fine on race day. On the Friday it was more complicated to get from Lienz to race office in Obertilliach. You had to do train+bus to get there, and take off times were few. This should have been better.

There have been less snow than usual this January in Europe and the racedate of this race is relatively early. But they made it. With snowcanons they made a 11km loop which was done four times for full marathon. This loop was one of the best shortloops I have been skiing and it was not a downer to do it multiple times. This loop had two versions, 9km and 11km, and there were some mixups the last few days of what loops to do when, but on raceday track-guards showed the way and it all went ok. It was also nice for the experience that outside the tracks there were 5-10 cm natural snow in the fields, making the scene all winterish. Temperature was in the morning around -14C. It went up to -10 or so at race start and later in the day almost zero in the sun. Large parts of the track was in shadow so the snow stayed cold. Making glide on skis a bit slower.

Warm tent was next to arena and the food they served was good. Included in startnumber was a bowl og pasta with meat and a beer. At the biathlon stadium there is also a good restaurant and bar, and a great view from the terrace.

This race do not have that many participants as other WL races. It should have as it is a good race in a good location. Usually there is a sprint-competition on town square Lienz on Friday evening but this year it was not held. Hopefully it will be back next year.

Some IAWLS members participating: Hannes Larsson, Josef Kral, Ivana Kralova, Grant McLoad, Lars Vagle. Results are online here

Text by Lars Vagle


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New title: “Dirty WL Master”


Click for details

New ski technique??
By Minoru from Sapporo

Dear WL skiers
I believe all WL skiers love skiing on the white snow, it is very fun and wonderful time, isn’t it.
For a long time XC ski is only classical style with grip wax.
But from 1984 skating ski is getting more and more popular for the XC ski technique.
After that we skied CT or FT for the race and training.
From ten years before, only double poling ski style is popular for the classical ski race, without grip wax and long poles, some top skiers use skating ski sets for the classical ski race with double poling technique. For the elite skiers only double poling is important technique for the race, but it is not important for the ordinary skiers, we enjoy skiing with classical and skating style, it is enough.

Recently we know a new style skiing for the WL ski race. It is easy and no effort to skiing to the finish line, very strange system for getting finishers stamp. This style of skiing does not need training, waxing and skiing!! You just need to put your timingchips on your friends body and waiting for him at the finishing line. Then you can get one WL stamp without skiing at all!! But is it fun? Do you like it? We WL skiers love skiing, but NOT race-stamps without skiing.

IAWLS wants to present “Dirty Worldloppet Master” title for such a cheating skier.

New ski season in 2017 is starting soon, we want to meet our friends on the snow with fair play spirit!! We are true WL skiers!!

Posted in News 2017 | 3 Comments

More articles on the Worldloppet cheating scandal

Several other websites are writing about this important case. This list is what we have observed. Some of the articles also have a comments section.

Germanys biggest site for xc skiing:

Expressen, Swedens second biggest newspaper:

Pluss Expressen TV:

Russias biggest site om xc skiing

Norways biggest website on skiing

A very popular high traffic xc site in Russia:

Norways biggest newspaper. Vasa & Birken cheating:—Umulig-a-oppdage-pa-forhand-228688b.html 

USA biggest site on xc skiing:

A finnish newspaper intervjues Juha about the scandal

One more finnish newspaper

A popular polish site

Gunde Svan talks about this scandal in Expressen 

Aftenbladet. Gunde Svan and the scandal–Jeg-skjonner-ikke-hva-man-tenker-228998b.html

RussiaLoppet shows pictures and link to scandal artice on their facebook page.

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Cheating scandal in Worldloppet

During 2016 a system of long term cheating in Worldloppet races was discovered. A work group looked into the case and found a lot more than expected.

One of the interesting and valuable features of Worldloppet (WL) is the system of WL Master. It has certainly played a big role in the success of WL. The WL Master title enjoys a huge prestige and all those who have obtained the title are rightfully proud of it. Many skiers have begun collecting multiple Masters, as shown by the fact that in September 2016 there were 3846 WL Masters whereas 4346 Master titles had been awarded.

The cheating system has existed for many years and was performed by a group of skiers, all «multiple masters». How? One skier is doing a race and carrying the timing chip of another skier who is not doing the race, and is not even present on the location. Both start numbers and chips are picked up, but one chip and start number is put in the skier’s pocket during race. Both chips are registering electronically during race and two WL passports are stamped after race. Which later leads to two Master Diplomas. For skiers seeking multiple Masters this system led to «results», false Masters. This means there are many invalid Master diplomas today, shown in WL webpages. According to the rules both skiers involved in the scheme are disqualified and if a Master diploma contains a disqualified race that Master and all results in it become invalid.

This cheating scheme is destroying the credibility and value of the WL Master performance. Some Master-skiers have already expressed their disappointment and anger at this. They feel the quest for WL Masters becomes without honor and meaningless, and are questioning their future quest for more Masters.

The work group of «investigators» looked at the results of past WL races and found the same pattern in many races going back as far as 2011 (older races were not looked at). The proofs of cheating are undisputable and consist of electronic records (times given by the chips) and pictures/videos. The chips indicate identical times (intermediate and finish) of two members of the cheating group whereas the pictures/videos show the presence of only one skier (pictures of the second skier are not available for the good reason that he did not ski the race). A report on these findings was sent to WL who handled the case at their annual Worldloppet Congress in June 2016. The investigating work group making the reports was all IAWLS members and this cheating system was also discovered by IAWLS members.

Something has to be done.
This massive and unprecedented cheating led to strong reactions. WL-congress made some statements and decisions which included to delete all cheat results and affected masters already submitted. This was after carefully analyzing the documents, connected pictures and films in reports given to them. And WL also made a statement saying that the cheats are no more welcome at any of the Worldloppet races. This means that no new WL Master applications will be accepted from this group of cheats. These are very strong and clear words from WL.

We find that these decisions are appropriate. Now we wait for WL actions to be done. We have seen that some WL-race results affected here are changed into disqualified status so things are happening. That is needed because we must show the world of skiers that cheating and fake Masters are handled and punished properly. So that WL Master awards again can have the high status they deserve. We hope so.

We will follow up on this case and inform you how WL handles it.

Good luck to you all in coming WL races.

Posted in News 2016 | 5 Comments

Biggest skimaraton race calendar 2017

As every year we present a list of circa four houndred skimarathon races. The longest we know of. The list is made by our executive member Thomas Huber.

Enjoy the list. It contains skiraces from so many nations. Happy travel and happy skiing to all! Download the PDF file here xc_long_distance_calender_2017_iawls


Posted in News 2016 | Leave a comment