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Belgian doping trial gets underway

Jo Planckaert meets the press

Jo Planckaert meets the press (Image credit: AFP)

Cycling legend Johan Museeuw went on trial on Thursday along with ten others accused of supplying or using performance enhancing drugs. The primary defendant, veterinarian Jose Landuyt is accused trafficking performance enhancing drugs. If found guilty, Landuyt could a two year sentence (half suspended) while Museeuw faces 'hefty' fines. Landuyt and former professional cyclist Jo Planckaert were present to hear the charges, while Museeuw chose to send his lawyer.

"We want to give a clear signal to the world of cycling," said prosecutor Wouter Haelewyn. "The drugs harmed the body and were designed to give those that took them an unfair edge in competitions."

Landuyt's co-defendant, physiotherapist Herman Verseele faces an 18-month sentence, half of it suspended, for importing doping products.

Museeuw, the three-time Paris-Roubaix winner, along with Mario De Clercq, Jo Planckaert and Chris Peers are accused of using EPO. Only Museeuw admitted to any wrongdoing, claiming he was guilty of "dishonesty" at the end of his career earlier in a press conference in January. His former competitor, two-time Tour of Flanders winner Edwig Van Hooydonck, accused him of using drugs for his entire career.

Landuyt's lawer admitted that his client had made mistakes, but denied he was the head of a doping ring.

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.