The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) has accused former member teams Lampre-Merida, Astana, and Katusha of joining the group out of mere “opportunism."
On Friday, the MPCC issued a statement in which it asked the UCI, the world governing body of cycling, to increase the minimum ban for technological fraud from 6 months to 4 years. The MPCC also urged the World Anti-Doping Agency to add Tramadol and Corticosteroids to the list of banned substances.
In the past 12 months, five WorldTour teams – Katusha, Lampre-Merida, Astana, LottoNL-Jumbo and Orica-GreenEdge – have left the Movement for Credible Cycling. This means that MPCC is now left with only seven of cycling’s top flight are now committed the additional rules of the body that include a pledge not to field riders who are using corticosteroids for therapeutic reasons and testing for cortisol levels.
The five teams were all among the big intake of new members in the 2012-2013 winter that coincided with organizers' group AIOCC (Association of Race Organizers) announced its commitment to prioritize members of MPCC when handing out wildcard invitations to races.
Katusha, Astana, and Lampre-Merida all cited a lack of compatibility between UCI and MPCC regulations while leaving the voluntary body. However, this claim was dismissed by MPCC in a statement that reads the recent withdrawal of several UCI World Tour team members from MPCC (Katusha, Lampre-Merida, and Astana) cannot be explained by a problem of compatibility between the rules governing our sport and the philosophy of the movement. It was added this to the MPCC is mostly related to these teams’ failure to keep their commitment, just three years after their accession.
The MPCC statement further reads some of these teams – which have excluded themselves by not following the rules they committed to – without a doubt had not hesitated to carry high their new MPCC flag in front of the media, the UCI license commission and/or the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with the aim of preserving their image and their World Tour status. It was further remarked that these teams did join MPCC by opportunism by not respecting their commitment.
In March 2015, Lampre-Merida left the MPCC after refusing to fire Diego Ulissi in the wake of a ban of nine months for a positive test for Salbutamol at the previous year’s Giro d’Italia. The team then cited Italian labor laws. In June of last year, LottoNL-Jumbo withdrew from the MPCC after New Zealand professional road racing cyclist George Bennett was forced out of the Giro d’Italia because of a low level of cortisol; the team cited reservations about the accuracy of the testing. In 2015, Italian Pro Continental outfits Southeast and Bardiani-CSF also left the MPCC. Astana ignored MPCC regulations when professional cyclo-cross and road racing cyclist Lars Boom returned a low cortisol reading on the eve of the Tour de France. The team fielded him in the race and was expelled from the MPCC. Last week, Orica-GreenEdge announced its departure from the MPCC and Katusha confirmed on the same day it was leaving the organization too.