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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 January, 2004, 19:05 GMT
Vandenbroucke faces trial
Frank Vandenbroucke
Vandenbroucke was banned for six months in 2002
Belgian cyclist Frank Vandenbroucke has been charged with possession of drugs and banned performance-enhancing substances.

He has been ordered to stand trial in the Belgian town of Termonde in March.

Vandenbroucke, who faces up to five years in prison and a fine if found guilty, has two weeks to appeal against the ruling.

Vandenbroucke's lawyer, Johnny Maeschalck, said his client would decide by next week whether to appeal.

"It is too early to make a decision but (an appeal) is not excluded," he said.

A spokesman for Vandenbroucke's current team, Fassa Bortolo, said it they had yet to decide what action they would take.

The ruling comes nearly two years after police found morphine, the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO) and the steroid clenbuterol in the 29-year-old's home.

Vandenbroucke's lawyers have argued that the drugs and other substances found in his home had been decriminalised for years.

The discovery led to Vandenbroucke being fired by his Domo Farm-Frites team and banned from competing in races in Belgium's Flanders region for six months in 2002.

The ban was lifted last March, with Vandenbroucke eventually finishing 12th on the World Cup circuit while riding for Quick Step.



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