Greg Van Avermaet under scrutiny in Mertens inquiry

BMC Racing confirms that Greg Van Avermaet will face the Belgian federation's doping committee next month

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) will face the doping committee of the Belgian cycling federation next month as part of the investigation of Dr. Chris Mertens, according to press reports.

Van Avermaet’s team said it was conducting an internal inquiry and that it had yet to unearth any rule violations.

In a press release, management wrote: “The team is aware that Van Avermaet was treated by Dr. Mertens, but is unaware of any treatments that would be in violation of any rules. Based on the information available to the team at the present time, no decision has been made to remove Van Avermaet from active status.”

Speaking before the start of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Van Avermaet — who finished second here last year and is hoping for big things on the cobbles this year — denied wrongdoing.

“It’s about being ready to race for me. This was not pleasant news, but I am innocent. I just want to focus on the race. Today is my first mission and I am glad the team let me start. The race will help me process all this,” he said.

Asked if the inquiry was a distraction, he replied: “No. I’m going to try to win this race.”