Belgian triathlete cleared in doping scandal
9 August 2005
BRUSSELS — The disciplinary council of the Flemish Community acquitted triathlete Rutger Beke on Tuesday of using the banned substance EPO.
The champion athlete tested positive to the hormone EPO at the Knokke Triathlon in Belgium on 1 September last year.
He had previously finished 5th at the 2004 Ironman Triathlon World Championship and second at the 2003 world championship.
And despite claiming he was innocent of using the banned substance, Beke was found guilty by the Flemish Community’s disciplinary council on 4 March this year. He was suspended for 18 months.
Beke lodged an appeal and new evidence indicated there was no definite proof that he had used EPO, newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ reported.
The defence succeeded in proving that the EPO urine test used at the time was not conclusive. Beke had tested positive both in Ghent and at an alternative test in Cologne, Germany.
Thursday’s ruling creates a precedent and opens the door for other athletes convicted of using EPO to demand acquittals. The entire test has been brought into doubt.
Leuven Catholic University haematologist Marc Boogaerts had told the disciplinary council that a new test needs to be developed. He also said “there is no hard evidence that Rutger Beke took EPO”.
Both German and Belgian researchers are now on the verge of unveiling a new EPO test, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported earlier this month.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news