Björn Leukemans was given a six-month ban for testing positive for testosterone. The ban runs from November 21, 2007 until May 21, 2008, so effectively ended three months before it was handed down. The judicial decision Monday in the case was just another strange step in a strange case.
Leukemans tested positive for synthetic testosterone in an out-of-competition test in September 2007. The test results were shown to come from a product prescribed to him by a team doctor. Both Leukemans and the doctor were released by Team Predictor-Lotto.
The 31 year-old was originally suspended for two years, until February 2010, a decision which he appealed. After many hearings in many different venues, the disciplinary committee of the Vlaamse Gemeenschap (Flemish Community) announced the six-month ban on Monday.
In its 32-page decision, the Council said that although the medication came from a team source, Leukemans "had been negligent. The athlete himself must check whether a product prescribed by a team doctor is allowed or not."
Leukemans' attorney, Johnny Maeschalk, was only partially satisfied with the decision, telling Sporza.be, "It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But the important thing is that he can ride again."
His client was of similar opinion, Maeschalk noted. "Björn also has mixed feelings. Of course he is glad that he can ride again, but only the acquittal counted for him." Looking to the future, Maeschalk added, "Now there are no more obstacles for teams interested in Leukemans."(SW)