No charges for Europcar team after OCLAESP investigation proves ‘fruitless’
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Friday, November 23, 2012

No charges for Europcar team after OCLAESP investigation proves ‘fruitless’

by VeloNation Press at 10:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Team reportedly had been accused of using corticosteroids during 2011 Tour

EuropcarFive months after a French prosecutor confirmed that an investigation had been opened into the Europcar team, leading to considerable negative headlines and publicity for the team immediately prior to the Tour de France, the Le Monde newspaper has stated that the case has been dropped.

At the end of June it was reported that the French OCLAESP agency – the Central Office for the fight against environmental damage and for public health, a department of the French police – was looking into the team in connection with the 2011 Tour de France.

At the time it was stated that the allegations related to the alleged use of intravenous vitamins plus corticosteroids, which are both restricted. WADA states that corticosteroids can only have very specific and limited uses during competition, essentially in relation to medical necessity.

At the time the French prosecutor Dominique Pérard said there was a chance the investigation would go nowhere. The team said it would cooperate with any enquiry in order to clear its name, but it started the Tour under a cloud of negative headlines regardless.

Thomas Voeckler turned things around for the team with two stage wins plus victory in the King of the Mountains classification; Pierre Rolland was also a big success with a stage win at La Toussuire/Les Sybelles plus eighth overall.

Now, more details have emerged of the investigation and also why it has been stopped. It was opened up in August 2011 after the OCLAESP was given information that corticosteroids were used to improve performance in that year’s Tour. Voeckler led the race for ten days and finished fourth overall.

According to Le Monde, the Paris prosecutor looking into the case has decided to shelve it as the OCLAESP have been unable to determine that any criminal or sporting law was broken. Members of the team were interviewed this week but, according to a source said to be familiar with the matter, those hearings were ‘fruitless’ and the case was closed.

The team is a member of the MPCC, which has stricter rules about the use of corticosteroids than the regular UCI or WADA regulations.

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