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LottoNL-Jumbo ends membership with MPCC

The squad takes issue with what it calls "flaws" in how the anti-doping group handles cases

LottoNL-Jumbo has ended its membership in the Mouvement Pour Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC), the team announced Wednesday.

The MPCC is an organization that helps combat doping in cycling by holding strict regulations for its member teams. LottoNL chose to withdraw its membership because it feels “the MPCC procedure is not a 100% accurate.”

The situation stems from the case of George Bennett, a LottoNL rider who was held out of the Giro d’Italia last month after showing low cortisol levels. Additional tests showed Bennett, according to the team, “was kept out of the Giro unjustly.”

“This, as well as advises from external experts, shows that the MPCC procedure is not a 100% accurate,” the press release reads. “There has been a lot of contact between the team and the MPCC. Within the MPCC, it was impossible to realise an adjustment of procedures regarding the measurement of cortisol levels before the general meeting in October, this to prevent riders from unjustly being kept from racing. Team LottoNL-Jumbo cannot conform to a procedure that is not a 100% accurate. The team supports the MPCC’s standpoints and, for this reason, regrets this difficult decision.”

LottoNL managing director Richard Plugge said the team believes in MPCC’s hope for a clean sport, but it has discovered “flaws in this system.”

“A low cortisol level is not always the result of substance abuse, and a low cortisol level certainly does not always mean an unhealthy situation,” Plugge said. “For this reason, we, as well as other teams/ team physicians and riders, are of the opinion that the procedure surrounding the monitoring of low cortisol levels should be adapted, to prevent riders unjustly being kept out of races and teams suffering unnecessary image loss and sportive damage.

“We know that the procedure is not a 100% accurate, as should be the case in such procedures. Two of our riders have been kept from racing unjustly (Vuelta 2013 and Giro 2015) due to this inaccuracy. Knowing the flaws in this system, we cannot justify a rider being excluded from entering a race any longer.”