The Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) has announced the temporary suspension of Team Europcar from the voluntary anti-doping association after the French team failed to stop Pierre Rolland from continuing in the Criterium du Dauphine despite a suspicious cortisol level discovered in a test done by on behalf of the MPCC and the French Cycling Federation (FFC).
It is not clear how the decision of the MPCC will affect Team Europcar. It is more of symbolic call to order than an isolation or expulsion. It is not expected to impact the team's wild card invitation to the Tour de France but puts the team in the doping spotlight just a week before the start of this year's race and as Bernaudeau tries to secure sponsorship for the team for 2014.
A low level of cortisol could be indicative of corticoid use or of fatigue. Corticoids can be used with a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) certificate but the stringent MPCC rules insist on a withdrawal from racing and an eight-day rest period in the case of a low result.
Because the test was done early in the morning, Team Europcar ignored the rules and Rolland started stage nine of the race, only to retire after 20km, citing an Achilles tendon injury.
Team Europcar manager Jean-René Bernaudeau played down the affair despite other riders in his team suffering similar problems. Anthony Charteau also fell afoul of an MPCC cortisol test at the Four Days of Dunkirk last year.
Rolland has since been given back his license but the Board of Directors of MPCC unanimously decided to temporarily suspend Team Europcar from the MPCC, and Bernaudeau and team doctor Hubert long can no longer serve as members of the MPCC Board of Directors.
In a statement on its website, the MPCC said: "The strict application of our rules of procedure, on a voluntary basis, is required by all our members, teams, sponsors, teams and / or institutional, national federations, organizers, etc.."
"The team should not have permitted Pierre Rolland to ride as an outcome of the analysis results, validated by both Dr. Megret and Professor Martine Duclos, on both testing time and pre-analytical conditions."