Toon Aerts is to be given a two-year ban ©Getty Images

Belgian rider Toon Aerts - who is a two-time International Cycling Union (UCI) Cyclo-cross World Cup champion - has revealed he is facing a two-year suspension for testing positive for the banned substance, letrozole.

Aerts has been self-suspended since February of this year after testing positive for the metabolite, which lowers estrogen levels and is linked to reducing feminising features that come from taking anabolic steroids.

It means if the ban is implemented after an appeal, Aerts will be unable to return until February 16 2024.

The Belgian's test came from an out-of-competition sample before the 2022 World Championships where he finished sixth.

It ended a run of three years on the trot making the podium, claiming bronze at the Championships in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Due to letrozole being regarded as a "specified substance", a mandatory provisional suspension is not needed.

Toon Aerts was said to have broke down at the press conference ©Getty Images
Toon Aerts was said to have broke down at the press conference ©Getty Images

Aerts mentioned he was notified by the UCI of such a suspension, but plans to appeal the decision.

"I have to tell the world something that I actually don't want to," said Aerts in a press conference according to Cycling Weekly

"Unfortunately this week I received a letter from the UCI that no one wants to receive. 

"It says that the UCI is proposing a two-year suspension.

"That means that I can start a cyclo-cross race again on February 16, 2024 at the latest, but I want to keep proving my innocence. 

"This is a very severe punishment, a much too severe punishment for someone who can say with a clear conscience that he is not a doping sinner.

"I have never had the intention to use doping and I have never voluntarily taken doping products to improve my performance."

His lawyers claim this to be a case of contamination from a supplement and will aim to at least receive a reduced sentence.