Wengen (Switzerland) (AFP) -
Russian skier Pavel Trikhichev scored a surprise second place in the Alpine combined event in Wengen and then used his moment in the spotlight to defend his country's skiers.
"Russian skiers are totally clean," said the Russian, whose country has been suspended from the upcoming Winter Olympics because of a programme of institutionalised doping.
He said that relentless testing proves the Russians are clean.
"I have undergone eight doping tests in the last six months," he said. "So there's no questions over me."
Before Friday, Trikhichev's best World Cup finish was 16th in the giant slalom in another Swiss resort, Adelboden, last Saturday. He is 25 and competed in the 2014 Games in Sochi where he was 24th in the combined and 33rd in the Super-G.
On the basis of a report from the World Anti Doping Agency on Russian manipulation of doping tests at Sochi, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) retrospectively disqualified 43 Russians who competed at those Games and suspended Russia from the upcoming Olympics in Pyeongchang, February 9-25. Russians deemed "clean" by an IOC panel will be allowed to take part.
"We should wait for decision from IOC," Trikhichev said. "I do my job and I am concentrating on the World Cup and not the Olympics because the Olympics is so far (away) still."
He said doping was no help in his sport.
"It's not possible to have doping in Alpine skiing," he said. "So I am sure Russian athletes are totally clear."
Russian successes in the sport are rare. Alexander Khoroshilov won the slalom in Schladming, Austria, in 2015 and had three podium finishes in three straight seasons, the most recent in January of last year.
The 33-year-old has struggled this season with his best result a ninth place in the parallel slalom in Oslo at the start of January.
Among the women, Ksenia Alopina, 25, has raced in six slaloms this season and not once qualified for the second run. The best result by Ekaterina Tkachenko, 22, was 26th in the slalom in Kranska Gora, Slovenia, at the start of January.