The Court of Arbitration for Sport has confirmed that Iljo Keisse will have to serve a two-year ban for doping. The decision came following an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency of an initial decision made by the Belgian cycling federation to dismiss the charges.
Keisse, who now rides for Quick Step, tested positive for cathine and HCT during the Six Days of Gent in November 2008. A year after the case first emerged, the Belgian cycling federation dismissed the doping charges, saying that there was insufficient scientific evidence that he knowingly used doping products.
QuickStep has put Keisse on inactive status. “I have no choice,” said team manager Patrick Lefevere. “Keisse can appeal against the ruling, but until his fate is clear, I have him on inactive status. I have to think of our sponsors.”
Lefevere added, “It is strange that someone who has been cleared down the entire line in Belgium is still suspended.”
The cathine was contained in an over-the-counter cold tablet which Keisse admitted taking, an admission which the federation took into consideration. It also accepted his explanation that the HCT came from a dietary supplement.
Keisse was fired by Topsport Vlaanderen when the positive test was announced but subsequently signed with Quick Step for this season. He was riding the Tour of Austria when the ban was announced.
According to Keisse's website, he will only be banned for an addition 13 months, since he already sat out 11 months of the two-year sentence. The ban runs through August 6, 2011.