Leukemans trusted team doctor

Björn Leukemans has had his day in court on doping accusations, and his attorney is confident that his client will be cleared of the charges. "An athlete is and remains responsible for his own health, and must watch out that no prohibited substances come into his body, which is correct," attorney Johnny Maeschalk said. "But it is not possible that you cannot trust your own team doctor."

The Belgian rider tested positive for testosterone in an unannounced test shortly before the World Championships last year. He claimed that the positive test was due to a product prescribed by team doctor Sam Vermeire. The product was Prasteron, which contains the steroid DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone), which is on the forbidden list. Both Leukemans and the doctor were fired by Team Predictor-Lotto, now Team Silence-Lotto.

"My client followed the correct procedures and did the right thing," Maeschalk said according to the Belga press agency. "He didn't go to his personal doctor and did not buy the Prasteron through the internet, for example. He clearly asked team doctor Vermeire if he could use Prasteron. Leukemans acted according to his contract and trusted his team doctor."

However, no explanation was given for the finding of synthetic testosterone in Leukemans' urine. Dr. Vermeire has denied that the product could have caused the positive test, saying "what I gave him could not have resulted in a positive test for synthetic testosterone." Other authorities had previously said that Leukemans' claim that he was having sex when the controllers arrived could also not account for the presence of synthetic testosterone.

In addition, he claimed that Prasteron itself was not on the forbidden list, and that the packaging does not mention that it contains DHEA. Leukemans had saved the packaging from the product and produced it at the hearing. The disciplinary commission is expected to announce its decision on January 24.

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