Iljo Keisse has voluntarily decided not to participate in the Bremen Six-Day race which started on Thursday night. He decided not to go to court again to force his way in, saying that it was becoming mentally and financially difficult to bear.
In July, the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued him with a two-year ban for his positive control for two banned substances in November 2008. Later, the Belgian Court of Appeals overturned that ruling pending a final ruling this spring.
The International Cycling Union says that the Belgian court action allows him to ride only in Belgium. When Keisse was prohibited from riding in the Rotterdam Six Day race, he went to court and given the right to start. He finished second, but the UCI does not list him in the official statistics.
“The UCI doesn't have a leg to stand on, yet they continue to make life difficult for me,” Keisse told the Belga news agency. “After the Six Days of Rotterdam, I asked myself whether I would always need to go to court. Mentally and financially that is something very difficult to bear. The pressure on me is huge, and both the organisers and I obviously draw a lot of negative attention.”
Even after the six-day race season, Keisse has decided to limit his riding to Belgium. The Quick Step rider plans to ride the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen (March 4-6), Nokere Koerse (Mach 16) and the Handzame Classic (March 18).
His attorney, Walter Van Steenbrugge, called it “an unprecedented situation. The UCI “wants to financially break Iljo, this is a total war situation.”