The Russian WorldTour team Katusha announced Thursday that it would be withdrawing from the voluntary organization Mouvement pour un cyclisme crédible (MPCC), which was formed in 2007 to promote clean cycling. Katusha is the second WorldTour squad to abandon the MPCC this week, Orica-GreenEdge having quit on Tuesday. In total five WorldTour teams have split from MPCC, leaving seven to carry on.
Katusha has been under scrutiny lately for two banned substance positives, Luca Paolini’s cocaine adverse finding at last year’s Tour de France and Eduard Vorganov’s meldonium positive in January. The Russian outfit just escaped a UCI suspension because Paolini’s cocaine use was judged to be recreational.
Katusha said that it was leaving MPCC because the positives would have required it to suspend itself from March’s Paris-Nice race according to the organization’s rules. In 2013 one of the MPCC’s founding team’s AG2R suspended itself from the Critérium du Dauphiné after riders Sylvain Georges and Steve Houanard both tested positive for banned substances within a year of each other.
On Tuesday Svein Tuft and Christian Meier’s Orica-GreenEdge indicated that the UCI’s rules were enough for the team and didn’t find the MPCC necessary anymore. In a press release, general manager Shayne Bannan said, “We fully support the initiatives that have now become an integrated part of the rules of the sport. Going onwards, we will be a strong supporter of seeing these and other initiatives being further developed by the official organizations in collaboration with all the other teams and stakeholders of cycling.”
Three WorldTour teams have left the MPCC because of low cortisol level rules. Lampre split last March after Chris Horner’s low levels disqualified him from defending his Vuelta a España title in 2014. Lotto-JumboNL withdrew last June when George Bennett was kept out of Giro d’Italia. Astana was thrown out in September after starting Lars Boom in the Tour de France despite low levels.
People weighed in on Twitter.
Dropping out of @MPCC_Cycling because the rules are more stringent? Wasn't that the whole point of joining?
— Dan Wuori (@dwuori) February 23, 2016
Which is a greater indicator of MPCC's toothlessness: Katusha leaving MPCC, or Katusha being allowed to stay in MPCC?
— Caley Fretz (@CaleyFretz) February 23, 2016
One twitterite did his part to stop the exodus.
I'm delighted to announce that I have joined the MPCC.#revolution
— David (@cyclingmole) February 23, 2016