LottoNL-Jumbo have been quick to state that Belgian climber Kevin de Weert has not been placed under investigation as part of the ongoing case around Dr Chris Mertens and riders using ozone therapy, contrary to reports on Tuesday morning.
Belgian paper Het Laatste Nieuws published a piece connecting De Weert and the inquiry by the Belgian Cycling Federation, but both the rider and his team released a statement shortly after on Tuesday afternoon to clarify that the former Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider was not implicated.
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“The Belgian climber Kevin de Weert has never been placed under suspicion in the case revolving around Dr Chris Mertens from Rotselaar,” they said.
“De Weert has voluntarily cooperated in the DNA investigation at the beginning of January 2014, in which no match was found. The team sees no reason for Kevin not to race, therefore he will start in the Tirreno-Adriatico. “
De Weert confirmed that he had worked with Mertens in 2012, but terminated the relationship shortly after news broke about the Belgian doctor’s alleged provision of ozone therapy to a reported 19 cyclists and cyclo-cross riders.
The 32-year-old De Weert also voluntarily provided a DNA sample to investigators and stated that he had not been requested to appear in front of the national federation as compatriots Greg Van Avermaet and Tom Meeusen have been.
De Weert said in a statement: “I was a patient at Dr 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.
“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 was never summoned for further hearing.”