Low cortisol levels see Bos prevented from starting Vuelta a España by his Belkin team
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Low cortisol levels see Bos prevented from starting Vuelta a España by his Belkin team

by Shane Stokes at 9:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
MPCC rules block rider; levels can be a sign of cortisone use

Theo BosOne of the fastest sprinters due to take part in the Vuelta a España, Theo Bos, will not line out in today’s opening stage of the race due to worrying levels of the substance cortisol in his system.

Bos’ Belkin Pro Cycling team has told the Dutchman that he must head home, thus losing its quickest rider for the big bunch gallops.

“The team has decided to send Bos home to recover because of low cortisol levels that appeared in a regular pre-race UCI test, which is an indication of sub-optimal health conditions,” it stated.

“The team received an e-mail from the UCI this morning that low cortisol levels were measured in the regular UCI pre-race test last Thursday. According to the UCI, riders with low cortisol levels are allowed to start in World Tour races but the Belkin Pro Cycling medical staff has together with Theo Bos decided to let Bos travel home.”

Low cortisol levels can be a sign of the use of cortisone, with the substance being closely controlled under anti-doping legislation. Those levels are not definitive proof of its use, however.

That said, the MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible) has clear rules on the need to rest riders who display irregular cortisol levels. “The rules of the MPCC state that riders with cortisol levels that are too low should not race until these levels are within a normal range,” acknowledged his Belkin team, thus explaining that it had no choice but to block him from starting the race.

Speaking with VeloNation earlier this month, MPCC chief Roger Legeay explained the group’s position on low cortisol levels. “The problem with corticoids is that there are a lot of certificates used to get a better performance,” he said. “Low cortisol is maybe 90 percent due to the use of legal or illegal corticoids. There is a small proportion which may be due to other reasons, we don’t know. That is why it is difficult [to have a clear conclusion].

“We do the cortisol test only for the health as it is very dangerous for riders if it is not a normal level. The MPCC don’t do the test [officially] for anti-doping, that is for WADA and the laboratory. We do it for the health.”

Bos will nevertheless likely have to explain to his team why he had a problem with low cortisol levels.

He has clocked up six victories this year, taking two stage wins in the Tour de Langkawi and one apiece in the Volta ao Algarve, the Critérium International, the Glavia Tour of Norway and the Ster ZLM Toer.

He represented one of the team’s best chances of a stage win. He will not be replaced on the squad, meaning the Belkin Pro Cycling team will have to start with just eight riders.


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