Court says Museeuw doped

In the doping case involving veterinarian José Landuyt and Belgian cycling star Johan Museeuw, the public prosecutor of Kortrijk (Belgium) issued a final evaluation on Friday. As Belgian newspapers De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws reported, the court found overwhelming indication that Museeuw used EPO and Aranesp in the year 2003 and stated: "Taking into consideration the investigated SMS and fax messages, the examinations and confessions made by Landuyt as well as other persons, it is established that Johan Museeuw has definitely taken EPO and Aranesp."

SMS messages sent from Landuyt to Museeuw clearly indicate the veterinarian advised the rider on how to use what they call "wasps", a code name for Aranesp which was confirmed by Landuyt. In a message to Museeuw dated July 7, 2003, Landuyt wrote, "Now you should take 80 to 100 wasps, and upon departure on July 9, minimum 40 and maximum 60, then you will be clean as of July 19."

On July 27, Museeuw sent a message to Landuyt saying: "I have 52", to which Landuyt responded "Take salt and drink a lot." One day later, Landuyt again received an SMS from Museeuw that said "Still 52", to which he replied, "Snuff salt and drink a lot." The court considered it highly probable the Belgian rider was trying to bring down his haematocrit level, which must be under 50 in order to be declared fit for racing under UCI rules. Blood boosting drugs such as EPO will raise a rider's haematocrit.

Meanwhile, Museeuw still maintains his innocence. At a fundraising race in Diksmuide, Belgium, Belgium's greatest classics rider said: "I have nothing to hide, because I have done nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing." Furthermore, Museeuw has decided to be very involved in the debate around his integrity, but wants to keep it away from the media. "I want to continue the debate at the right places, not via the papers or TV. Apparently they want to dethrone me. But that's not going to work that easily," he said.

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