Track rider not allowed to ride in Manchester in spite of Belgian court ruling
Iljo Keisse will ask a Belgian court to fine the International Cycling Union 100,000 Euros for preventing him from riding the Manchester Revolution track event this past weekend.
The Belgian court, which temporarily lifted Keisse's doping suspension pending a final ruling next Spring, said that it could impose such a fine on anyone who prevented him from riding.
"This is not a personal veto against Keisse. It is very simple: he is suspended on the basis of a ruling by WADA,” UCI president Pat McQuaid told sportwereld.be. “The ruling of the Court of Appeal in Brussels applies , in our view, only to the Belgian territory. Outside, we respect the decision of WADA. "
Manchester Revolution organiser James Pope told Cyclingnews on Saturday that the UCI advised him that Keisse was suspended outside of Belgium, and that they could not allow him to pparticipate. Keisse's attorney, Johnny Maeschalck said that he was notified Friday evening while the cyclist was flying to England. “Two lines saying that Iljo is not entitled to start. At a time when it is too late to take legal steps in response," he told sportwereld.be.
Keisse rode and won the Six Day Gent race, and then went on to the Six Day race in Zurich, where he finished fourth.
"Last Friday they tried to get me out of the Six Days of Zurich,” Keisse said. “They still failed. Why do they always do this Friday and after office hours? There aren't many opportunities to communicate at that time. That is probably the intent. "
Maeschalck said he didn't know what the UCI was up to. “But I know I find it inconceivable that this game be played with the head of an athlete who already has been through a lot. Honestly, I think this is beneath contempt. "
Keisse said that he felt like a puppet, whose strings are being pulled by others. “I'm really tired,” he said. “How long will it take now?"
In the meantime, he is off to Spain with Team Quick Step for a training camp for the upcoming road season. But even manager Patrick Lefevere admitted that “maybe he has other things on his mind.”