Iljo Keisse, currently still under contract with Quick Step, has been notified that there won't be a place for him in the new Belgian super team Omega Pharma-Quick Step. The Belgian, whose doping suspension ended in August this year but who is still banned to race in Belgium until January 27, 2012, is looking for a new squad.
"I received my notice from Quick Step before leaving to the Tour of Beijing," Keisse told Het Laatste Nieuws. "Last year I also received it, but I was able to stay in the end. This time there's no hope however. I understood that the team is already full."
Keisse went on the attack in the Tour of Beijing's stage four but the day ended in a bunch sprint. "I don't really mind on which team I end up - I just want to continue racing in 2012. I have more than two years of misery behind me so I just want to concentrate on cycling now."
Keisse returned a positive test for cathine and hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) at the 2008 Ghent Sixday and subsequently embarked on a lengthy legal battle regarding his ban for the offense. The Belgian cycling federation cleared him of charges in October 2009 after he claimed that the substances entered his body via a cold medicine and a food supplement. He then joined Quick Step for the 2010 season but was banned again in July as the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the decision.
Keisse continued to fight and obtained an overruling of the CAS ban, this time from the Belgian courts, which allowed him to race inside Belgium. But the final act came on May 2, 2011, when the Belgian Court of Appeals ruled that Belgium was not in charge of overruling a CAS decision. Keisse was finally banned until August 6 this year on an international level and until January next year inside Belgium to compensate for the period he was allowed to race in his home country.
This will therefore prevent the rider to again participate in the Ghent Sixday in November, and Keisse has lost his appetite to battle. He intends to come back to the Sixday season in Amsterdam, Netherlands. "Hopefully, there will be Grenoble after that and then the whole lot."
The 28-year-old Madison specialist will however not target the 2012 Olympics. "The Madison is not an Olympic discipline anymore and therefore, I can do little or nothing at the Games," he added. "I never trained specifically for the Omnium, and there are other riders busy doing that. I won't try to push them away."