Boom starts Tour despite low cortisol levels

Sat Jul 4, 2015 1:01pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - Dutchman Lars Boom started the Tour de France on Saturday despite showing low levels of cortisol in a test on the eve of the race.

Low levels of the hormone can be explained by the use of corticoids, anti-inflammatory drugs that are allowed out of competition but forbidden while racing unless a rider is granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

Boom had an outside chance of victory in Saturday's 13.8-km time trial but eventually finished 23rd, 44 seconds behind winner Rohan Dennis of Australia.

"I did not have the best preparation," Astana rider Boom told reporters.

Astana, the team of defending Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali, are members of the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) that applies stricter rules than the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Under MPCC rules Boom should have rested for eight days but UCI regulations, by contrast, do not forbid him from racing.

UCI president Brian Cookson said the rider had not broken any anti-doping rule.

"No rules of the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency have been broken so he's allowed to ride the Tour de France," added Cookson.   Continued...

Astana rider Vincenzo Nibali of Italy (R) cycles with team mate Dutch rider Lars Boom during a training session in Utrecht, Netherlands, July 3, 2015.  REUTERS/Eric Gaillard