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Eight Belgian cyclists facing criminal drug charges

A court in northern Belgium ruled on Tuesday that eight Belgian riders, including two former professionals and six amateurs, will be tried in criminal court for possession of drugs. The court first opened its case in March 2006 after raids found small quantities of substances such as steroids, clenbuterol, nandrolone, EPO and growth hormones according to the Belga news agencyand the AFP.

Former cyclo-cross specialist Peter Van Santvliet and former road racer Dave Bruylandts and the six amateur riders will be tried for violating the Narcotics Act for possession of illegal substances and hormonal products.

The Belgian Cycling Federation had sanctioned Bruylandts by fining him 10,000 Swiss Francs and suspending him for 18 months from October 1, 2004 to March 31, 2006.

The court's decision may still be appealed.