Iljo Keisse and his partner Kenny De Ketele fell shy of the overall victory in the Rotterdam Six Day today, conceding the race in the final Madison to Dutch team Leon Van Bon and Danny Stam. After forcing his way into the race through the courts, Keisse will have to be content to be the "unofficial" runner-up of the event.
In addition, he faces another last-minute legal battle to be at the start of the Six Day in Bremen, Germany this Thursday after the race informed him today that he was not welcome.
The UCI has made it clear that it will not record the results of the Belgian, who received a temporary stay to his doping suspension by a Brussels court in October. The UCI say that Keisse is only allowed to race in his own country, but he took the case through the Dutch legal system, which allowed him to start in Rotterdam because of an existing contract between the rider and the race organization.
"I knew my condition was good and we would be contenders for the podium," Keisse told Sporza.be. "The UCI making my life miserable doesn't make me ride better or worse. I try to get distracted from the bike as little as possible. After all these years it is possible for me to switch it off."
Keisse received the support of his fellow riders and the fans in Rotterdam, but that may not help him to take the start in Bremen. The German organizers are unwilling to risk the ire of the UCI who in July appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to ban Keisse for doping and won.
The Belgian cycling federation refused to suspend Keisse in its 2009 hearing after he was found with two banned substances in his urine at the 2008 Six Day in Ghent, Belgium. He argued that the adverse analytical findings came as the result of cold medicine and a contaminated supplement.
The UCI and WADA appealed to the CAS, which handed Keisse a two-year ban in July, 2010. Keisse was heard in October by the Brussels appeals court, which raised the question in a November ruling if the CAS is a genuine court of arbitration. According to the UCI it has yet to declare its competence to make such a ruling, and will meet in April to debate the issue. It temporarily suspended the execution of the CAS decision until that time.