Björn Leukemans can start thinking of racing again. Last week the Belgian Council of State overturned his suspension on doping charges and indicated that he was able to ride again pending a new hearing. The UCI requested that the Belgian now report his whereabouts for anti-doping controls, and the team has taken this as a positive sign that the sport's governing body has agreed with the ruling.
His manager, Jef van den Bosch, told the belga,"The UCI has given a very important indicator." He added that now that Leukemans is again in the whereabouts system, "There can be no more doubt: Bjorn can and will ride again. He has intensively prepared for this moment for the last six months, and could compete again tomorrow if he wanted to."
The UCI was unavailable for comment.
The former Predictor-Lotto rider tested positive for testosterone last September and was subsequently released by the team. He appealed his suspension, claiming that he was not responsible for the high testosterone values which violated the anti-doping regulations, because they resulted from a medication prescribed to him by a team doctor. The State Council upheld this view, ruling, "There is no ban, because the punishment is in no relation to the faults committed by the accused person."
There has already been interest expressed in signing the 30-year-old. "We will talk with everyone, but it can be clear that Bjorn wants to sign with another ProTour team", van den Bosch said. "Have any of the larger teams shown any interest? Yes, but it concerned only preliminary discussions, nothing concrete. I hope that everyone is now convinced of the fact that Bjorn can race again." (SW)
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