Hondo's return still up in the air

By Susan Westemeyer The UCI will decide in the next few days whether Danilo Hondo can ride again on...

By Susan Westemeyer

The UCI will decide in the next few days whether Danilo Hondo can ride again on April 1 or whether his doping suspension will continue. The exact legal requirements must be carefully studied, UCI attorney Philippe Verviest told the news agency sid.

The Tinkoff Credit Systems rider, who tested positive for the banned substance Carphedon during the 2005 Vuelta a Murcia, challenged his original ban in the Swiss courts and won a temporary reprieve when the court overturned the suspension imposed on him by the Swiss cycling federation. After serving one year of the ban, he started riding again in April 2006, but his suspension was reinstated in January 2007 by the Swiss Supreme Court.

The CAS ruled over the weekend that the two-year ban must be "effectively" served. The UCI could rule that Hondo may not ride again until March 2008. However, Hondo's attorney Michael Lehner said that such a ruling would go against the wishes of the Swiss court's January ruling, which said: "that an athlete may not be punished for taking advantage of his right to appeal."

Lehner added that the CAS' announcement over the weekend was not a legal decision. "It simply gave a judicial opinion, which the World Anti-Doping Agency had asked for," he noted.

Hondo plans to ride the De Brabantse Pijl on April 1. Lehner said that an extension of the suspension is not legal and that if that should occur, he would start another action before the Swiss court.

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