By Susan Westemeyer
Björn Leukemans' positive doping test for testosterone has angered Belgian officials, leading one anti-doping authority to claim that, "if you test positive in Cologne, you have doped."
Frans Delbeke, the head of the Belgian anti-doping lab in Gent was not speaking specifically about the Leukemans case when he told Het Laatste Nieuws that the lab in Cologne "...has the most modern equipment to determine whether the testosterone is produced by the body or whether it is synthetic."
"Synthetic testosterone has different characteristics from natural testosterone. That way it can be determined whether someone has cheated." He further noted that, "For Cologne, a sample is only positive if it contains certain artificial testosterone."
Leukemans tested positive for testosterone in an out-of-competition doping control before the 2007 World Championship, but the 30-year-old denied having used an illegal product and claimed that he has naturally high testosterone.
Flemish sports minister Bert Anciaux also criticized the ProTour team, "It is not that the entire Predictor-Lotto team is under suspicion, but I do want to scold them," he told HLN. "The Leukemans test shows that our controls work. But why didn't the team discover this itself and avoid the problem? Where is their own internal control system? They must look into that."
"But again," he added, "it is perfectly possible that Leukemans was an isolated case. This news says nothing concerning the other riders on the team or the other riders of his generation."
Predictor-Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant called Anciaux's statements "an overreaction". Speaking to sport-planet.eu he said that the comments "were not nice. It would have been better if Anciaux had got in contact with us first rather than directly reacting. He might better have waited until the B-sample was tested."
"He speaks of the team," Sergeant added. "This is also not nice for the other riders. Other teams come into the headlines in a bad way four or five times, that is surely not the case with us."