This Saturday 9 April, at the start of Paris-Roubaix, 11 team members registered for the Paris-Roubaix submitted their riders to a cortisol level test as part of their commitment to the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC). Those tests have been conducted both in France and Belgium hotels.


This is the first time that the MPCC conducts tests of this kind in the case of a one-day race.


Earlier in the week, 13 team members registered for the Circuit de la Sarthe also submitted their riders to a cortisol level.


These voluntary tests have been performed in collaboration with French Cycling Association (FFC) and French Cycling League (LNC). All values were above the voluntary MPCC norm. The Board notes with satisfaction that the riders of these MPCC member teams registered for the Tour de France have scrupulously respected the clauses of their standing orders.


Background on cortisol tests by the MPCC


The objective of the MPCC and its member teams is to contribute to restoring the credibility of cycling. One of the organisation’s activities are voluntary cortisol tests amongst the riders of the member teams of the MPCC. In case the results of the test present an abnormally low value, the rider concerned will not race for a period of minimum eight days until the cortisol value has recovered again above that minimum value.


For the sake of clarity: it concerns a voluntary norm and the test does not concern an anti-doping control. Under WADA rules, athletes across all sports, with a cortisol level abnormally low, are entitled to perform their sport in competition (unless an anti-doping test has revealed the unauthorized use of the cortisol hormone).


The reason for the MPCC member teams to introduce this voluntary norm (below which the rider concerned will withdraw from competition for that minimum period of eight days), is an effort towards all stakeholders and fans of the sport of cycling and to confirm its commitment to clean sport and to show that cycling and MPCC member teams wish to be a frontrunner in that.


Why cortisol tests?


Although cortisol hormones are an allowed medicine when pre-scribed by a physician, the use of that medicine has frequently been abused in the history of sports (including in cycling) for the purpose of increasing the performance. Besides, a low level of cortisol can potentially endanger the health of athletes in certain circumstances when he/she is in competition while the athletes perform under high intensity or under stress.


For both reasons and with the objecitve to contribute to restoring the credibility of cycling, the Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible and its member teams have introduced that voluntary norm below which its riders will temporarily withdraw from competition.