Doping sentence tarnishes career of former champ Museeuw
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Johan Museeuw, considered the best one-day cyclist of recent times, has been sentenced to a ten month suspended jail term and a fine - along with three other former Belgian riders - for his involvement in a 2003 doping scandal.
REUTERS - A Belgian court found former world champion Johan Museeuw and nine others guilty of doping offences on Tuesday, sentencing the ex-cyclist to a suspended jail term and a fine.
Museeuw and three other former Belgian riders received 10-month suspended sentences and were each ordered to pay 2,500 euros ($3,416).
Chief defendant, veterinarian Jose Landuyt, and masseur Herman Versele received both a one-year suspended sentence and the same 2,500 euro fine.
The men were found guilty of various charges of importing, possessing or using endurance-boosting drugs EPO and Aranesp.
Three other cyclists also received suspended sentences and fines, one man just a fine and a final man was acquitted.
Prosecutors had demanded a two-year sentence, half of it suspended, for Landuyt and fines for Museeuw and the other "immoral" cyclists.
Museeuw, considered the best one-day cyclist of recent times, admitted in Jan. 2007 to taking performance-enhancing drugs towards the end of his career.
The trial in the western Belgian city of Kortrijk finally began more than a year ago, but was put on hold for 11 months from October 2007.
The criminal case involved four years of investigation, with telephone tapping and a number of police raids.
Investigators said they counted over 200 calls and mobile text messages between Museeuw and Landuyt over a short period of time.
It was not yet clear on Tuesday whether Museeuw or the other defendants would appeal against the ruling.