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Investigation dropped in Laurens Sweeck Vaminolact doping inquiry

Under-23 Belgian cyclocross champ Sweeck cleared by Belgian Cycling Federation due to insufficient evidence.

Belgian under-23 cyclocross champion and worlds runner-up Laurens Sweeck (Corendon-Kwadro), who faced a possible two-year suspension for the intravenous use of the infant nutritional supplement Vaminolact, will return to racing next season after the Belgian Cycling Federation announced it was dropping its case against him. Investigators from the federation found that there was insufficient evidence of wrongdoing to continue the case.

Vaminolact, which is normally administered intravenously to infants as a nutritional supplement, is not considered a banned substance. However, intravenous use of the drug would violate the UCI’s so-called “no needles policy.” Sweeck maintains that he only used the solution orally.

Sweeck was one of a number of Belgian athletes caught up in the investigation of doctor Chris Mertens, who has also been accused of administering ozone therapy to athletes. The treatment involved infusing athlete’s blood with ozone, a practice that has been criticized not just for its association with blood doping, but also for being dangerous and without scientific basis.

BMC star Greg Van Avermaet and cyclocrossers Tom Meeusen and Bart Wellens have all seen cases against them dismissed as well. Wellens nonetheless retired from racing at the end of the 2014-15 season.

Sweeck said in a press release that he was relieved that the case had been closed. “The quick verdict finally provides some security, for example, for my participation in the first World Cup event in Las Vegas,” said Sweeck, who now expects to take the start at CrossVegas, the first-ever American cyclocross World Cup race, on September 16.