Three time Cyclo-cross World Champion Mario De Clercq is considering an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his four year suspension (two of which are effective) for his involvement in the José Landuyt affair. De Clercq suffered the same fate as the three other professionals involved in the affair: Johan Museeuw, Chris Peers and Jo Planckaert. He has, however, already retired from cyclo-cross.
De Clercq's lawyer Peter Callebaut called it "a heavy punishment because my client has not done anything," Callebaut told VRT television. "Conversations are apparently enough to punish someone. But you can't condemn anybody on that basis. Once again, De Clercq had the conversations with the veterinarian Landuyt because he is writing a book. There is zero proof of doping use or possession. If you and I talk about planting a bomb, then we aren't terrorists, right?"
Callebaut added that an appeal to CAS would have to be made within the next month. "But that costs a lot of money. After an appeal to CAS, we could also take the disciplinary commission (of the Belgian cycling federation) to court."
De Clercq's job at the cycling school in Ronse may not be endangered, however, as the school's director Frank Verkleyn believes that he should be allowed to stay. "The legal department of the Flemish Community Education confirmed to me that De Clercq can keep teaching. He can only lose his job after a judgment from a civil court. The fact that De Clercq has been involved in such an affair is his own personal business. But he is then also the appropriate person to warn young people of the dangers of such actions. We have had a discussion with him about that."