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CAS rejects Vandenbroucke appeal

An appeal by Belgian rider Franck Vandenbroucke was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, Friday leaving the disgraced former Domo team rider with a six-month ban from cycling and few options ahead of him. Vandenbroucke was banned by the Belgian cycling federation and sanctioned 10,000 Swiss francs ($6000) after police discovered banned products, including EPO (erythropoietin), anabolic steroid clenbuterol and morphine, at his home following a raid in February. The raid came a day after his French physiotherapist Bernard Sainz, known ominously in the

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002

An appeal by Belgian rider Franck Vandenbroucke was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, Friday leaving the disgraced former Domo team rider with a six-month ban from cycling and few options ahead of him. Vandenbroucke was banned by the Belgian cycling federation and sanctioned 10,000 Swiss francs ($6000) after police discovered banned products, including EPO (erythropoietin), anabolic steroid clenbuterol and morphine, at his home following a raid in February. The raid came a day after his French physiotherapist Bernard Sainz, known ominously in the peloton as ‘Doctor Mabuse’, was also charged with possession of illegal substances after a large quantity of amphetamines and syringes were found in the boot of his car. On Friday CAS effectively said the arguments against Vandenbroucke were too concrete to lift the ban. “After examining the arguments from the athlete, from the RLVB (Belgian federation) and the Union Cycliste Internationale(UCI), which has entered the procedure as their own regulations allow, the CAS has decided to reject the request to have the ban overturned. “All parties involved must now proceed to note any evidence, which will then be given at a later hearing.” The ban on Vandenbroucke, who was immediately sacked by his team following the revelations, takes effect from March 22 and could leave the rider’s eventual return to the peloton severely compromised. Although a urine test taken shortly after the discovery showed no traces of banned products in his metabolism, the ban and any upcoming hearing could take its toll on the former bad boy of Belgian cycling.

In 1999 Vandenbroucke was suspended but later reinstated by his then team Cofidis after being investigated over his association with Sainz in France for an alleged doping affair. Sainz was charged then with breaking the law relating to toxic substances and doping products and imprisoned for two months last May. A judgment on his case is still pending.

Vandenbroucke denied at the time he was a cheat, but said he may have been naive in taking homeopathic products for which he paid him 57,000 francs ($9500) from Sainz.

Cofidis reinstated Vandenbroucke, who had been leading the World Cup standings at the time, when he was cleared by a judicial inquiry. The rider, who turned professional at 19, has long been regarded as a fragile figure in the tough world of cycling were mental toughness is as important as physical prowess. When he signed for Domo last November the winner of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic in 1999 conceded this was a make or break signing.

“If it doesn’t work out I think it will be my last chance,” he then said.