Lampre-Merida has pulled Chris Horner out of its Vuelta a Espana lineup due to a conflict with the Movement For Credible Cycling (MPCC).
Horner, who was treated with cortisone after suffering from bronchitis during the Tour de France, acquired a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) from the UCI and was given the all-clear to race the Vuelta, which starts Saturday, and try to defend his 2013 title.
Lampre, however, is a member of the MPCC and when it became known that Horner’s cortisol levels were lower than the minimum, the team took Horner out of its Vuelta roster on a “complete voluntary decision,” it said in a statement. Italian Valerio Conti will take Horner’s place on the roster.
Dr. Carlo Guardascione, Lampre’s team doctor, explained the situation in further detail in a press release: “After the finish of the Tour de France and after the Tour of Utah, where the athlete was still suffering from bronchitis, Chris Horner underwent two examinations by two specialists for his bronchitis … both specialists agreed that a treatment of cortisone by oral means was the only way to resolve this problem. All the necessary steps were taken to request a TUE, this authorization was given by UCI commission for the athlete to proceed with this therapy on [August 15].
“Physiologically, this treatment can cause a lowering of the cortisol together with other factors such as jet lag after his travel from United States, where he had a time difference of 9 hours.
“After the necessary UCI blood tests were taken, it showed a lower cortisol level compared to the minimum level requested by the MPCC, thus the decision from the team to not allow the athlete to partake in this Vuelta even with having all the necessary UCI authorization in order.”
Said Horner: “Of course I’m sad about this news. I was willing to try to defend the 2013 title. [The] Vuelta was my main target in the season, the team signed me with the aim of being competitive in the Spanish race, but I accept the decision linked to the MPCC’s rules. This bad bronchitis caused me a lot of problems, I’ve been suffering from it for weeks and this treatment could have allowed me to solve the problem.
“UCI gave authorization for the treatment, I could race according to UCI rules, but my team is a member of MPCC. I understand it and we all must accept this situation without regrets.”