Iljo Keisse is continuing his fight to be allowed to race, while the UCI is standing firm on its opinion that he should not compete outside Belgium. Keisse is scheduled to start the Rotterdam Six Day on Thursday and is listed on the official program partnered with compatriot Kenny de Ketele, but the UCI has requested the organizers not let Keisse start.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, the race organization received the request from the UCI in an e-mail, but asked for clarification before they would break the start contract with Keisse.
Keisse's battle dates back to 2008, when he tested positive for two different banned substances at his hometown Six Day in Ghent, Belgium. He was cleared by the Royal Belgian Cycling Federation of doping after he was able to demonstrate that the cathine found in his system was the result of cold medicine and the HCT from a contaminated supplement, allowing Keisse to compete in the 2009 edition of the same race.
The UCI disagreed with the Belgian federation's decision, and appealed the verdict along with the World Anti-Doping Agency to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The court issued a two-year suspension last July, but a Belgian appeals court temporarily overturned that decision in time for Keisse to compete in the 2010 Ghent Six Day. He won the race with partner Peter Schep.
Keisse went on to compete in the Zürich Six Day before being informed by the UCI while he was in Manchester, England for a one-day track race that he was not allowed to competed outside of Belgium.
In its October decision, the Brussels court said that it could fine any organization that refused to let Keisse start 100,000 euros. Keisse requested the UCI be fined after the Manchester incident, and the Rotterdam Six Day could face this fine should they concede to the UCI's demands.
"It is all happening over my head," Keisse told Sporza.be. "I can only wait and hope that everything works out when the Six Day starts on Thursday night."
The conflict looks set to continue into the road season, for which Keisse has been reinstated with the Quick Step team. The final decision of the Brussels appeals court is due in April.
"I wish the case was over long ago. [The UCI] have been playing with me for 772 days. I keep myself ready for every race, but mentally it is very difficult."
Teams for the 2011 Rotterdam Six Day
Danny Stam / Leon Van Bon (Ned)
Franco Marvulli / Niki Terpstra (Swi/Ned)
Michael Morkov / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
Peter Schep / Theo Bos (Ned)
Raymond Kreder / Michel Kreder (Ned)
Robert Bartko / Pim Ligthart (Ger/Ned)
Iljo Keisse / Kenny De Ketele (Bel)
Yoeri Havik / Nick Stopler (Ned)
Leif Lampater / Wim Stroetinga (Ger/Ned)
Jeff Vermeulen / Tim Mertens (Ned/Bel)
Jos Pronk / Jens Mouris (Ned)
Marc Hester / Geert-Jan Jonkman (Den/Ned)
Kenny Van Hummel / Andreas Muller (Ned/Ger)