Jurgen van den Broeck admits visiting doctor under investigation but denies wrongdoing
By Matt Westby - follow @MattSkyCycling. Last Updated: 11/01/13 4:32pm
Jurgen van den Broeck: Met with Dr Chris Mertens
Belgium's leading Grand Tour contender has admitted visiting a sports doctor who is currently under investigation for doping.
Jurgen van den Broeck revealed at a press conference on Sunday that he had met with Dr Chris Mertens, who is based in Rotselaar, near Brussels, but insisted his contact was "sporadic" and that he had not used banned substances.
The 29-year-old Lotto Belisol rider is one of the biggest names in Belgian cycling and is seen as the country's best hope of landing a first Grand Tour victory since 1978.
He said: "I rarely go to that doctor. If I am sick and our team doctor [Jan Mathieu] is not available, then I go. But I have never done anything that is forbidden.
"It is not far from my home and there are not many sports doctors in my neighbourhood.
"I went there because, a few years ago, I had many problems with my sinuses. You should go to someone who knows what he is doing.
"Of course, in our village there is a family doctor, but he does not know what he can and cannot prescribe. The list of prohibited products is long."
Dr Mertens, who works across a range of sports, has been accused of adding ozone to blood in order to enhance its oxygen content.
Belgian cyclo-cross rider Tom Meeusen also visited him and has been called as a witness in the investigation, but Van den Broeck said he has not yet been approached to give evidence.
He added: "I am shocked that the doctor is in the news. In my case, the court has not visited. I just want no misunderstandings."
Van den Broeck finished fourth in the Tour de France in both 2010 and 2012.