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Bitter ending for Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel).
Belgian could have to pay equivalent of annual salary plus expenses if found guilty
If Leif Hoste is found to have violated anti-doping regulations, then he may face a fine of up 300,000 euro, the Belgian cycling federation has said. He could also be given a two-year suspension.
The UCI announced in January that he was under investigation for violating the Biological Passport programme. Hoste, 35, announced his retirement in December, citing chronic back problems.
"The suspect blood values are most likely due to banned substances. And it is quite unlikely that they can be attributed to other causes,” Jaak Fransen, the cycling federation's prosecutor, told Het Nieuwsblad.
Although retired, Hoste would also face suspension. “I cannot do otherwise than, in accordance with international law, ask for a 24-month suspension,” Fransen said.
But that would not be all, as he would also be expected to pay a fine equivalent to a year's salary, plus other expenses. According to Fransen, the fine wold be 297,500 euro, plus court costs, passport programme costs, and the costs for analysing his blood samples, which is estimated to bring the total to a minimum of 300,000 Euros.
He would also lose all his results from July 2008 to December 2010, which would include fourth and sixth-place finishes in Paris-Roubaix.
Hoste was not worried, saying “It's okay, I have every confidence in my lawyers.” His hearing is scheduled for June 13.
His attorney, Johnny Maeschalck, indicated he had grounds to challenge the doping charges. “We have some surprising findings. The biological passport is a perfect instrument, providing it is used correctly. The UCI is very selective in the samples they chose.”