De Cauwer acquitted

Former Belgian national coach Jose De Cauwer, recently appointed as youth coordinator for the Davitamon-Lotto team, has been acquitted of trading and possession of amphetamines.

The court in Antwerp yesterday ruled that allegations against De Cauwer had exceeded the statute of limitations and were otherwise unproven.

The accusations against De Cauwer came as part of an investigation into former amateur cyclist Ronny Vansweevelt, who was apprehended by police on October 31, 2000 after attempting to flee from a traffic accident. Police found amphetamines in Vansweevelt's possession, and he named several other cyclists as having been involved in supplying him.

The court handed chief suspect Marc Claus an eight-month suspended sentence after he was found guilty of 236 instances of supplying doping products, and criticized the fact that Claus is still the coach of a junior cycling team.

Vansweevelt said he had been using drugs since 1995 and named De Cauwer as one of those who supplied him. However, De Cauwer only admitted passing on a contact number to Vansweevelt. That person was responsible for supplying Vansweevelt. De Cauwer also admitted that his mail box had been used at least once to receive and collect amphetamines.

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