Five years after testing positive for synthetic testosterone, Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) has been cleared by the Flemish Sports Council's disciplinary committee, according to the Gazet van Antwerpennewspaper.
Leukemans returned the positive sample for Prasteron in an out-of-competition test on 26 September 2007, days before the world championships in Stuttgart. The Belgian was initially suspended for two years but ultimately succeeded in having the ban reduced to six months.
Nonetheless, Leukemans was fired by his then Silence-Lotto team and spent the 2008 season on the sidelines before returning with Vacansoleil the following year.
Leukemans possesses medical certification of a naturally high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone dating back to 2001, but experts dismissed the condition as the trigger for his positive test.
Leukemans subsequently claimed that he had been prescribed Prasteron, which contains the steroid DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) by team doctor Sam Vermeire, but he was still handed a two-year ban, which was later reduced to six months.
“All’s well that end’s well, it’s just a huge relief,” Leukemans told Gazet van Antwerpen after learning that he had been cleared last Friday. "It's been a lot of hassle for the past few years, but now I'm totally cleared."
Last December, a Belgian labour court found in favour of Leukeman’s claim of unfair dismissal against the Belgian Cycling Company, the holding company behind the Predictor-Lotto team. BCC was ordered to pay out €127,000 in compensation.