Keisse third after opening day of Rotterdam Six
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Friday, January 07, 2011

Keisse third after opening day of Rotterdam Six

by Shane Stokes at 4:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Organiser faced large fines if he didn’t admit Belgian rider

Iljo KeisseBelgian rider Iljo Keisse and his racing partner Kenny de Ketele are third overall after the first night of racing in the Rotterdam Six, two points behind leaders Danny Stam and Leon Van Bon and riding strongly despite the stress surrounding Keisse.

The 28 year old gained a last-minute opportunity to ride the race after a legal challenge against the UCI and WADA was successful. He tested positive for cathine and the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) after his victory in the 2008 Six Days of Ghent, was cleared by the Belgian Cycling Union in November of last year, but then banned again after a CAS appeal.

The to-and-fro case saw Keisse win another decision in front of the Belgian Court of Appeals, but both the UCI and WADA assert that he remains banned outside Belgium.

He used a late court action to gain entry to the six day, and is consequently third overall in the race.

"We went to the judge in Amsterdam and took the written judgement from the Belgian judge with us,” Keisse told VeloNation’s Ed Hood yesterday evening. “The judge in Amsterdam looked at it and said that in his opinion it was possible for me to race in Rotterdam. This only happened at 4 pm so there was no time today for a written judgement, but we hope to have that tomorrow.”

The UCI was unable to prevent him starting but issued a very peculiar press release insisting that it would ignore his performances.

“The UCI maintained his decision that Iljo Keisse is not allowed to participate to the Rotterdam Six Days,” it stated yesterday. “If the rider would [will] take the start after all, the UCI Commissaries will completely ignore him and his team (their names won’t appear on starting list and results of the race).”

However the official race website lists Keisse and de Ketele in third position. It remains unclear whether or not the race organiser will pay out prize money to the duo at the end of the event, or if the UCI will block that.

According to organiser Frank Boele, he had no choice in taking the rider. “I better not say anything,” he told Demorgen.be. He originally invited Keisse, was forced to cancel his participation this week due to pressure from the UCI, then had to admit the rider into the race when the court ruled that he could compete.

“We are bitten by the cat or the dog. But we have a contract with Keisse and the Dutch court says we should keep it.”

The ruling apparently stated that Boele would have to pay Keisse 50,000 euros per day if he did not let him race.

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