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Berden receives 15 months

In contrast to De Clercq, cyclo-crosser Ben Berden has no argument with the 15 month suspension given to him by the disciplinary commission of the Belgian cycling federation today. Berden tested positive for EPO at a race in Essen last December, but admitted that he used the drug. His suspension will run from January 12, 2005 to April 12, 2006.

Berden received a lighter than normal (up to four years) sanction because the federation considered that he had a "clean record and a good character." "It's a punishment I deserve," said Berden to Sporza radio. "But twelve months would have been nicer, then I could have done a bit of 'cross in 2006."

"Actually I can be satisfied that it was only fifteen months," he told VRT. "Initially there was a suspension of four years asked, but the federation decided otherwise. It takes a load off me and will help me to train."

Berden vowed that he would be back: "Now I have to work to become the old Berden again. I really want to do everything I can."

His next aim is to get a job that allows him to train, and then find a team that will have him after his suspension is finished.

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