Leukemans appeal to be heard

By Susan Westemeyer

Björn Leukemans' appeal of his two-year suspension will be heard by the Vlaamse Gemeenschap (Flemish Community in Belgium) on February 26. He was banned after a positive out-of-competition test for testosterone last fall.

The 30 year-old Belgian expects good news and is preparing for his return to riding. "I am innocent and assume that other people will realize that, too," he told the Gazet van Antwerpen. "I want to be ready for the moment that I return to competition. Already one team is ready to offer me a contract and a nice racing programme."

Until then, however, he is still coping with the fact that he was found to have doped. "My eyes have been opened. I lost my naivety and a lot more," he said. He has no contact with his former team, Silence-Lotto, or his former colleagues. "The team management ignores me. I asked [sport director] Marc Sergeant if I could return if I am cleared. He never answered me."

He continued, "I don't hear any more from the riders, not from Nick Nuyens or anyone else. I have no friends left in the group, only colleagues."

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