Grenoble Six day leader Iljo Keisse abandons plans to defend Ghent Six title
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grenoble Six day leader Iljo Keisse abandons plans to defend Ghent Six title

by Shane Stokes at 9:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Track
Not enough time to appeal against Belgian ban

Iljo KeisseCurrently leading the Grenoble Six Day event with Morgan Kneisky, Iljo Keisse has given up on plans to defend the title he took last year in the Ghent Six Day, his home race.

Last week the Quick Step rider lost the latest round in a complicated battle over a positive test three years ago, with the Brussels Court of First Instance ruling that he remains banned from racing in Belgium. Keisse and his legal team indicated that they planned to keep fighting, but have now accepted that the November 22nd start date of the Ghent Six will come too soon.

“We have too little time for a new process to start,” his lawyer Walter Van Steenbrugge stated, according to Sporza. “We also know that the international cycling federation UCI would not accept an interim measure in favour of Keisse.”

Ghent Six Day organiser Patrick Secru has accepted that Keisse will miss his race, saying that he regretted it as there were no other Belgian riders at the same level.

Keisse tested positive for cathine and hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) after winning the Ghent Six in November 2008. He was given a two year ban but was cleared at the beginning of November 2009 by the disciplinary committee of the Belgian Cycling Federation.

The UCI successfully appealed this to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Keisse was told that he could not compete until August 6th of this season.

The reason for his current ban in Belgium began last November when Keisse took a case to the Belgian Court of Appeal, which overturned the CAS decision in relation to competing in Belgium. That was in turn reversed in May when the Brussels Court of Appeal upheld the original CAS judgement to suspend him. As he had raced in the meantime, it set a return date of January 28th for races on home soil.

Last week the Brussels Court of First Instance rejected an appeal by him, saying that it was not competent to rule in the case.

The decision was welcomed then by the UCI. “This case is of big importance, not just for cycling, but for sport in general,” said its press officer Enrico Carpani. He said it showed that CAS was the supreme court in relation to sporting matters.

Keisse and his legal team have been aggressive in the battle with the UCI and this continues. “We will demand compensation. The day will come when justice will prevail and that the UCI is condemned,” his lawyer stated.

The rider has been told that his contract won’t be extended with the Quick Step team, and so he will race elsewhere in 2012.

The substance Hydrochlorothiazide is the same as that which Alexandr Kolobnev tested positive for during this year’s Tour de France. Last week the Russian indicated that he had been given a warning and a 1,500 Swiss franc fine rather than a stiffer penalty. The UCI is yet to decide if it will appeal that decision.


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