By Susan Westemeyer
Björn Leukemans tested positive for testosterone in an out-of-competition doping control shortly before the World Championships in September. Team Predictor-Lotto immediately suspended him pending the results of the B-sample.
The team said that Leukemans notified them of the results. In a statement issued Wednesday evening, it said, "The team management, subscriber of the ethical charter, will take the necessary measures. In accordance with the internal ethical charter as well as with the regulations of employment, the rider has been immediately suspended. If the B-sample was to be positive, the ride would be immediately sacked. This isolated case has no influence on the normal operations of the team."
According to HLN.be, his urine showed a ratio of 6 to 1 for testosterone/epitestosterone. The normal ratio is 4 to 1. Leukemans told Sportwereld.be that he has previously returned similarly high values, which "were accepted then by the doping agencies."
Team manager Marc Sergeant defended his rider, telling the Flemish public broadcaster VRT that "We are always 200 percent against doping. We cannot deny these facts and must suspend Björn, even though he swears up and down that he has done nothing wrong. Björn told us that in the past he already showed too-high values once. He naturally has higher testosterone values than others, and he thinks that this is such a case."
"I have 100 percent faith in Björn," Sergeant told Sporza.be. "We have no indications that he would have done this. I therefore do not want to accuse him but we cannot deny this provisional fact."
Leukemans, 30, won a stage in the Tour of Austria this year, and finished fourth in Paris-Roubaix and 13th in the Worlds. He turned pro in 2000 and has been with Lotto since 2005.