Kevin de Weert is not under investigation in relation to Dr. Chris Mertens, who faces trial for allegedly providing banned ozone treatment to athletes. De Weert’s team, LottoNL-Jumbo, made this announcement hours after Belgian daily Het Laaste Nieuws connected him to the inquiry on Tuesday.
“I was a patient at doctor Mertens’ practice for a short period of time in 2012, which is close to my home. At the moment I received notice of the investigation, I immediately looked for a different physician,”said de Weert in a statement. “At the end of 2013, I received a court letter with the request to voluntarily provide them with DNA material because they wanted to close the case. In the beginning of 2014, I voluntarily gave them samples of my DNA, and I do not have to justify myself at the court or my sports federation, because I never received any summons for hearing.”
De Weert, a Belgian climber who was riding for Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 2012, is free to race and will start Tirreno-Adriatico next week, according to his team.
Mertens is being investigated for providing ozone therapy to top athletes in cycling and other sports, a procedure wherein blood is removed, infused with ozone, and then re-injected. He is also accused of prescribing the injection of Vaminolact, an infant medication. Vaminolact is not illegal itself, but administering it with an infusion breaks the UCI’s no-needle policy.
A number of cyclists have been connected to the doctor, including cyclocross star Tom Meeusen and BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet. The latter has been named as a client of Mertens but is not under investigation in the ozone case.