Lampre-Merida’s general manager Brent Copeland has reiterated his team’s support for the MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible) after Chris Horner was pulled from the defence of his Vuelta a Espana crown after low levels of cortisol were returned in a pre-race test.
Horner was tested on Thursday and returned the low levels due to a recent treatment for bronchitis. He was prescribed cortisone for the illness which had plagued him since the Tour de France. Under the UCI rules Horner would have been eligible to start the race despite the cortisol levels and his prescription for cortisone followed the sport’s governing TUE guidelines. However MPCC rules dictate that the rider had to be benched until his levels had returned to their interpretation of a regular level.
“There was no chance of us going against the MPCC rules,” Copeland told Cyclingnews.
“If you sign up to an organisation it’s because you believe in what they’re doing. We respect their rules, and we know that a lot of teams aren’t part of them so if we weren’t part of the MPPC we could have let Chris start but we respect what the MPCC are doing.”
“It’s unfortunate. He’s had bronchitis for a month and a half and he’s had a really tough time. At Utah he was battling a lot with coughing after the stages so he had a check up with two specialists who said that he needed to take the course of oral cortisone. We then got the TUE from the UCI so all the regulations and steps we needed to take were carried out in the right manner.”
Copeland added that he, his medical staff and the rider were aware of the risk involved when prescribing Horner the TUE but added that without the treatment there was no chance of him racing at all.
“Obviously there is a risk with the cortisol levels changing and with the MPCC rules we knew that. He did the test yesterday the levels were too low. I think this shows just how much we respect the MPCC rules and what they believe in. It’s unfortunate but we all knew that there was a risk with the treatment.”
“He was not going to start the race with the bronchitis that he had. To do a one week race he could have got away with it but he’s been battling with this problem since the start of the Tour de France. It was either not to take him at all or try and get him better before the Vuelta.”