18-month suspension for Capelle

Ludovic Capelle (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) has been suspended for 18 months by the Belgian Cycling Federation. Capelle had tested positive for EPO at a race in Gullegem, Belgium, on June 7, 2005, and had already been suspended by his team. He will not be able to participate in professional races from October 26, 2005 until April 25, 2007, and must pay a fine of over 3000 Euros.

The Belgian rider, who had insisted upon his innocence before, is determined to appeal the decision. "The fight's not over yet," he said. "I've never used EPO, I'm completely innocent and now this. Of course I'll appeal the decision!" Capelle's lawyer had pleaded for acquittal of the rider, saying that serious concerns have been raised about the reliability the EPO urinary test.

Gerard Bulens, manager of Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, is not surprised at the decision, but will wait a little longer to effectively sack the rider. "The A- and the B-sample were positive, so I'm not surprised," Bulens said. "We had signed the UCI Anti-Doping Charter and will release a rider when he tests positive. In this case, we will wait a little longer." If Capelle's appeal doesn't overrule the decision, the Belgian rider's contract is expected to be terminated.

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