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Criminal doping charges against VDB dismissed

By Susan Westemeyer

The court of appeals in Brussels, Belgium, dismissed doping possession charges against Frank Vandenbroucke Wednesday morning, noting that he had already served a six-month suspension for the charges.

In February 2002, police found EPO and clenbuterol in Vandenbroucke's home. He allegedly claimed the drugs were for his dog. His team at the time, Domo-Farm Frites fired him and he subsequently served a six-month suspension.

The court noted that the Belgian cycling federation had imposed a sentence on VDB, who now rides for Acqua & Sapone, and that, under Belgian law, an athlete cannot be punished both by a sports federation and a criminal court. His attorney, Luc Deleu, said that the ruling could also have an effect on the upcoming trial of Johan Museeuw.

Museeuw was charged with possessing illegal doping products following a search of his house in 2003. He retired a year later and was subsequently banned for two years by the Belgian federation. His trial is scheduled to start April 2.

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