Kazakh team broke voluntary regulations of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) by allowing rider to start the Tour de France


Team Astana have been temporarily suspended by the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) after allowing Lars Boom to start the Tour de France despite a pre-race test showing that the Dutchman had abnormally low cortisol levels.

Under article 9 of the MPCC regulations, riders who are shown to have a low level of cortisol are required to refrain from competition for an eight-day period. Low cortisol levels can indicate illness, or the use of the steroid cortisone, though there is no evidence that Boom has committed any doping violation.

>>> Lars Boom cortisol case: what you need to know

A statement from the organisation read, “In the wake of the choice of Astana to allow Lars Boom to take the start of the Tour de France and thus not to respect article 9 of the MPCC’s rules, unanimously the board of directors of MPCC take notice of this decision and temporarily suspend Team Astana, until the next meeting of the board of directors according to its statute.”

Boom was tested last Thursday, two days before the start of the Tour. The results came back after Friday’s manager’s meeting, after which UCI rules prevent squad changes, which left Astana facing the prospect of starting the race a man down.

Rather than begin the defence of Vincenzo Nibali’s title with only eight riders, the team decided to start with Boom, leaving them to face off against the MPCC.

“Team medical staff have advised that Boom’s low cortisol level is the consequence of a long-standing and well-known application of anti-asthma therapy and that there is no danger to the rider’s health and safety in starting the 2015 Tour de France,” read a statement issued by Astana on the eve of the race.

Astana’s insistence on racing Boom, effectively ignoring the MPCC, is another blow for the organisation. As of now, less than half of the WorldTour teams are members of the organisation.

Last month Dutch squad LottoNL-Jumbo withdrew from the MPCC, questioning the accuracy of testing after George Bennett was forced to miss the Giro d’Italia due to low cortisol levels. In 2013 Theo Bos was withheld from competing in the Vuelta a España for the same reason.

Italian squads Lampre-Merida and Bardiani-CSF have also left the MPCC in recent months, with an unnamed Bardiani rider also falling foul of the cortisol test prior to the Giro d’Italia.

Watch Cycling Weekly’s guide to the cobbled stage four of the Tour de France



  • Nigel Rue

    I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Nibali up one day and down the next. Taking drugs? Maybe, but any victories while in Astana’s colours will always be tainted with suspicion.

  • reece46

    Lot’s of possible reason for innocence trotted out and no mention made of Boom’s team being already in ‘the last chance saloon’ according to Cookson. Sign for Vino and then get sympathy the first time there’s difficult questions asked. On stage 2, Nibbali’s team also made no attempt to get him back on the peloton following his puncture because the DS had no intention of doing anything else other than drafting. Sean ‘rules are rules’ Kelly doesn’t seem to apply his principles consistently. ITV at least have Imlach and Boardman who aren’t afraid to upset a few people.

  • Vespertine

    Any victory by Nibali is pre-tainted anyway.

  • Vespertine

    What a joke that was made even more sickening by David Harmon and Sean Kelly justifying it live on air yesterday. Indeed Eurosport even did a nice friendly interview with Boom and didn’t mention it, only afterwards saying how they felt sorry for him and how he was in tears in Utrecht. This asthma thing is beyond a joke …

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    Presumably Astana don’t care if he is ill, or maybe they know fine well that’s not the reason for his low cortisol.

  • reece46

    The MPCC may have a future after all, lets hope teams who didn’t want to provide respectability to undesirables might now consider joining.

  • Timlewis

    Why did they allow Astana to ride the tour in the first place. This is going to drag on and on .. Any victory by Vincenzo nibali will surly be tainted by all this negative publicity .. As for vinokourov being allowed anywhere near the tour it just makes a mockery of the so called justice system trying to combat drug taking ..