MPCC doctor Mégret denies giving green light to Pierre Rolland after irregular cortisol levels detected
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Monday, June 10, 2013

MPCC doctor Mégret denies giving green light to Pierre Rolland after irregular cortisol levels detected

by Shane Stokes at 10:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
“This is completely false and incomprehensible”

Pierre RollandArmand Mégret, the doctor of the anti-doping group MPCC (Movement for a Credible Cycling) has strongly denied Europcar’s claim that he gave a green light to Pierre Roland to continue in the Critérium du Dauphiné after the French rider was determined to have abnormally low cortisol levels.

The cortisol tests are part of the health checks carried out on MPCC teams and samples taken from a range of riders red-flagged Roland. Cortisol is a hormone which appears in the body and abnormal levels can occur for a number of reasons, including the use of corticosteroids. The latter are performance enhancing and their use is consequently strictly controlled in cycling, particularly under MPCC rules.

However as there are other reasons for unusual cortisol levels, the eight day suspension required by the MPCC for riders with this condition is officially deemed a health measure rather than an anti-doping sanction.

Rolland took the start of yesterday’s stage but abandoned after twenty kilometres. His team said he had tendonitis in his Achilles tendon, and that he would rest for three days to help the injury to heal.

Today, though, L’Equipe reported the cortisol issue and noted that allowing the rider to start was “a serious breach of the rules of the MPCC.”

Responding to this, Europcar manager Jean- René Bernaudeau denied that regulations had been broken. “He was tested at 6.45 am, at sunrise,” he told the French newspaper. “Normally it tis necessary to wait half an hour to get reliable results. That was not possible because the start time of the race was very early. We contacted the doctor Armand Mégret and he authorised his start.”

Not so, insists Mégret. “It’s he (Bernaudeau) who said that. I will not make any comments at this time,” he told L’Equipe, but then went on to make his annoyance clear. “This is completely false and incomprehensible. I'll leave it at that for now and I will respond in a different way soon. I do not want to do it right now [when he’s annoyed – ed]. I find it outrageous and unacceptable. It is already quite a strong response.”

The Europcar team was previously investigated for the alleged use of cortisone but no wrongdoing was concluded. In May 2012 its rider Anthony Charteau was prevented from starting the final stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk, with irregular cortisol levels being detected. No official sanction followed.

It remains to be seen if the MPCC will take action over the team’s decision to allow Rolland to start yesterday. The 26 year old is one of the best young French riders. He finished eighth and tenth in 2012 and 2011 Tours de France, and also won a stage in each.


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