Katusha has become the second UCI WorldTour team this week to resign its membership of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), saying that its rules are incompatible with the current regulations of the governing body, putting the team in an impossible situation.
Earlier this month, the UCI’s disciplinary commission decided against suspending Katusha from racing despite two riders, Luca Paolini and Eduard Vorganov, failing anti-doping controls within a 12-month period.
Under new rules introduced at the start of 2015, the Russian team could have been suspended from racing for between 15 and 45 days, but the UCI said that since Paolini’s use of cocaine was recreational rather than to enhance performance, it would be wrong to punish the team.
But in line with MPCC rules, the team would still have been required to suspend itself from racing for eight days, beginning with the next WorldTour race, Paris-Nice, which starts on 6 March. It would also have missed Tirreno-Adriatico, which begins three days later.
It’s a similar situation to the one Astana found itself in last October after brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy both tested positive for EPO, leading the Kazakh outfit to pull out of the Tour of Beijing.
However, as Katusha noted in a statement published on Tuesday confirming it was withdrawing from the MPCC, such action conflicts with UCI rules, under which top flight teams are obliged to participate in all WorldTour races.
The team said its understanding was “that the MPCC intends to strictly apply its rule regardless of the similar UCI provision recently adopted, despite a clear decision taken in this case by the UCI Disciplinary Commission and without acknowledging the specificity of the present case.”
It added that it “regrets the position of the MPCC and in particular its refusal to adapt its rules to the mandatory UCI regulations,” and as a result was left with “no other choice but to leave the MPCC with immediate effect.”
On Monday, Australian WorldTour team Orica-GreenEdge left the MPCC, saying that it would choose instead to work in partnership with “official organisations in collaboration with all the other teams and stakeholders of cycling" to combat doping.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.