The MPCC Exodus

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Katusha

Katusha have quit the MPCC grouping of teams, following Orica-Greendge’s departure too. Teams rushed to join this group when they needed the political cover and most bail the moment they have to uphold its strict rules.

The exodus is a blow to the group but at the same time the MPCC’s work is almost done as most of the ideas it promoted have now been adopted by the UCI and the ones that aren’t yet are under review.

Katusha’s exit is a slippery one. You’ll remember that in 2015 the UCI copied the MPCC’s rule on collective suspensions whereby if there are multiple doping cases in a team then the whole team stops racing. The UCI went further as its rule says a minimum stop for 15 days following two positive A-samples while the MPCC says eight days after two B-samples. Katusha say that since the UCI said they were not going to suspend the Russian team over the two doping cases the MPCC should show leniency plus any self-imposed suspension would fall foul of the UCI’s own rules:

“a suspension of Team KATUSHA during a WorldTour race based on the MPCC Rules would violate the UCI Regulations of mandatory participation and the Disciplinary Commission would then be obliged to sanction the Team.”

Technically true but a slippery claim too given the precedent. Back in 2013 the Ag2r team suspended itself following multiple doping cases and they had to sit out the Dauphiné, a triple blow given this race is a big pre-Tour prep, takes place in front of live TV and is run in their home region. The UCI’s Professional Cycling Council (PCC) would have punished the team for skipping the World Tour race under the rules but decided not to given the team and the race organiser agreed on the suspension:

The PCC decided no fine will ensue (art. 2.15.128) on the grounds that the sporting penalty was sufficient and that the organizer was supportive. The team nonetheless remains solely responsible for its actions

So it looks like Katusha are hiding behind the rulebook despite a clear precedent. This is delicious given they’ve just benefited from rulebook leniency over their suspension instead of the strict application and besides there’s the established precedent that waives the very participation rule they fear. Of course what Katusha fears is not falling foul of a UCI rule but missing some major races. Indeed many teams have praised this voluntary body and signed up as enthusiastic supporters only to walk out the moment they get into a pickle:

  • Bardiani-CSF had an unnamed rider with low cortisol before the Giro and walked out on the MPCC in order to avoid resting the rider
  • Lotto-Jumbo’s George Bennett had low cortisol levels before the Giro and they pulled him from the team but quit the MPCC within weeks after a spat with the MPCC
  • Did Astana leave or were they booted out? Either way Lars Boom’s pre-Tour de France cortisol test caused embarrassment and they were out, all this after they’d gamed the team suspension rule before
  • Southeast quit the moment they were supposed to self-suspend following a spate of doping busts
  • Lampre-Merida quit after they hired Diego Ulissi following his doping ban

You might notice the theme here: teams sign up willingly but only leave the moment they get into a pickle. It’s a sort of reverse Saint Augustine manoeuvre where the fifth century Bishop wanted to partake in sexual hedonism and is supposed to have prayed “O Lord, grant me chastity but just not yet“. With our pro teams it’s like they swear vows of virtue but the moment temptation comes their way they’re off.

“Forgive me Lord for I have taken Tramadol”

Still both Katusha and Orica-Greenedge only joined so they could put a halo on their heads. Katusha only joined the MPCC during the battle to win back its licence at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Hit by doping scandals the UCI wanted to keep the team out of the World Tout but the team promised to clean up and joining the MPCC with its additional rules beyond the WADA Code was seen as step in the right direction. Orica were in the middle of the Vance Review which was initiated following Matt White’s implication at US Postal and concerns over Neil Stevens’ past at Festina. Joining the MPCC was good cover with Bannan sayingwe are making a commitment to be a part of the future clean cycling” as they joined.

Orica Greendge

That said Orica-Greenedge are not leaving under a cloud which is worth stressing so it’s been put in bold. Instead their press release yesterday hinted it was because most of the original MPCC rules are now UCI ones with Shayne Bannan sayingwe fully support the initiatives that have now become an integrated part of the rules of the sport“. This brings us neatly to the way the MPCC is almost redundant now: it’s floated good ideas and they’ve been adopted by the UCI.

Movement in the right direction
Over the years the MPCC has been mocked as toothless and the Movement for Credible Cycling always sounded overreaching, if it had started off as “Athlete Health Council” a lot of the scorn could have been avoided. But instead of bad farce it’s been a force for good. We can mock the MPCC for its weak ability to herd the teams but it’s not so much the shepherd that has a problem but the flock. The MPCC and its teams have played an important role which should be celebrated. One of the first policies agreed among member teams was the “no needles” policy, a pioneering idea that no team should be injecting anything, legal or not. The UCI copied this, the first governing body to do this, then the International Rowing Federation followed and the IOC has partly copied this too and its spread throughout sport. Maybe it would have happened eventually but the MPCC was first to push for this and presumably found an open door at the UCI. See also the copied team suspension rules mentioned above and they’ve imported some of the MPCC’s ideas on cortisone use but have not gone as far as the MPCC, which they probably should said the CIRC Report. The MPCC have also banned Tramadol use among member teams and the UCI is now looking to see if they can block it despite it not being on WADA’s banned list. In short the MPCC has acted like a think tank, raising ideas which others adopt and its rules have helped protect rider health.

Vaughters has a point here. If ASO keep the Tour de France out of the World Tour then it becomes a race by invitation-only. Christian Prudhomme has praised the MPCC in the past and said MPCC member teams would get priority for wildcard invites – which may help explain why the sulphurous Southeast team aren’t riding Paris-Roubaix this year. But in the event of the Tour still being outside the World Tour would teams rush to join? There’s next to no cost to join, the subscription fee is tiny and attending committee meetings is probably the most painful part. But Prudhomme’s praise was more about sending the Pro Conti teams here in the same way sailors would lash themselves to the mast when sailing past the Sirens. It’s unlikely the Tour would leave out BMC Racing or Team Sky simply because they don’t want to join up. Team Sky say they don’t want to join because the MPCC won’t adopt a full zero tolerance policy like they have but we should ask whether they have any objections sign up to pre-race cortisone checks and a Tramadol ban?

Summary
It’s easy to see which teams believe in the MPCC’s health and anti-doping ideas and which ones signed up for political cover and the public relations halo. Many claimed to support the rules in principle until they had to apply them to themselves. There’s a word for this and it’s called hypocrisy.

At least Orica-Greendge walked out because they took a policy decision rather than facing embarrassment. Katusha citing the strict UCI rulebook as the reason to leave is bizarre given the established precedent and it’d be more honest if they just said they didn’t want to miss some big races and pledged to be more transparent.

In many ways the MPCC’s work is done, each time it’s called for improved anti-doping measures the UCI follows and if the governing body can implement the CIRC recommendations on cortisone and Tramadol then the MPCC would become redundant.

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The Inner Ring February 24, 2016 at 2:24 pm

This post was published a short while ago but the comments seemed to be broken because of a coding mistake. So it’s been reposted again.

Three missing comments recovered:

Uli February 24, 2016 at 1:24 pm
I’m glad Naughty Vaughty found a reason to be on MPCC.

J Evans February 24, 2016 at 1:41 pm
Unfortunately, from the beginning, the MPCC has been used by a number of teams as a PR exercise. This has been proven time and again when the teams simply leave the moment the MPCC rules become inconvenient.

This is the flaw with a voluntary organisation. It is better to have one authority in charge of these matters and the same rules mandatorily applied to all.

What the MPCC has done is show up what the UCI is not doing. The UCI continues to fail to take certain simple anti-doping measures. For example, no rider should be allowed to ride on opioids: not only is this dangerous for other riders, as these drugs can affect balance, but no-one should be riding with an injury that causes so much pain that it requires this extreme an analgesic.
Similarly, TUEs should be stopped. If you are so sick that you need a drug that is performance-enhancing, then you are too sick to race. Aside from the health issue, even if this drug is being used to cure your illness it still has the potential to enhance your performance. Riders should not be winning races on a PED.

The question to ask is why have the UCI not taken these measures? I genuinely cannot see a reason – is it scared to stand up to the teams? The UCI is doing very little to change cycling’s pill-popping culture.

Anonymous
February 24, 2016 at 2:03 pm
The UCI may have adopted some MPCC rules, but it failed to apply them to Katusha – which was as predictable as Katusha’s exit from the MPCC.
The UCI repeatedly finds an excuse not to do something – how much longer do we have to wait for action on c0rtis0ne and tr4mad0l? Surely, WADA would not object to this even if these substances are not on their banned list.

The Inner Ring February 24, 2016 at 2:31 pm

In response to J Evans the UCI does want to ban tramadol but has legal worries. Here is Brian Cookson:

Cookson’s frustration is in relation to this. He confirmed that the UCI would like to see if it could introduce a tougher rule that the WADA Code, but he also admits it could be complicated. As a result of that, he is unsure what the UCI’s legal department will advise.

“We could in theory go higher [tougher] than the WADA Code,” he said. “But I am nervous about this because I want to have the strength of WADA behind us. I have said this before in other cases.

“If we try to go above and beyond the WADA Code, then you can bet your life that whoever falls foul of that, their lawyers will say, ‘you know what, this is where we will go after them. We will challenge that.’”

Because of that, he is being cautious. “We have to be sure that if we were challenged, that we would win. I don’t want to set a negative precedent, I want to set positive precedents in that sense.

“So we need to look at it very carefully and we are going to do that. Ideally, I would like tramadol to be on the banned list and ideally I would like the cortisol issue to be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction as well.

“But at the moment, I want to make sure that WADA is 100 percent behind us.”

http://cyclingtips.com/2015/11/cookson-uci-wants-to-see-if-it-can-introduce-its-own-tramadol-ban/

J Evans February 24, 2016 at 2:40 pm

(I was also ‘Anonymous’ above.)
I would have thought the UCI could ban a drug and it be legally binding. (And teams and riders wouldn’t want to risk it: worst-case scenario is massively reduced use of these drugs and then, at the least, the public shaming of those caught using them, even if it couldn’t be legally upheld.)
As is so often the case with Cookson, there is talk but not action (e.g. banning Katusha and then swiftly un-banning Katusha). Is he just (too?) cautious or does he actually lack the will? I suspect that he is overly concerned with not upsetting certain powerful people, in order to remain in his position.
I can see no reason for the continued existence of TUEs.

Nick February 24, 2016 at 3:44 pm

The UCI can’t simply ban what it likes; it has to act within the law. And while courts generally give sports bodies plenty of leeway to regulate their sports so far as is necessary to protect the integrity of a sporting competition, they don’t give anywhere near as much leeway where the regulation is not necessary.

In the case of TUEs, there’s clearly a grey area: people have a right to seek treatment for medical conditions, but competitors have a right to compete in PED-free environments. WADA’s current regime sets out a way of accommodating both: TUEs having to be obtained in advance, etc. So it would be very difficult for any individual sporting body to show that it was *necessary*, not just beneficial but necessary, to go beyond that to regulate their sport.

In this case, it wouldn’t simply be an instance of banning those who are currently “too sick to race”, but also those with chronic conditions that need management. No TUEs means, for instance, that no diabetics, asthmatics or hay fever sufferers could compete. It might be a struggle for the UCI to show that was *necessary*.

re: Katusha, did Cookson say that they were going to be banned?

J Evans February 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm

WADA is not ‘the law’. And there is no evidence to suggest that the UCI cannot ban drugs that are not on WADA’s list – only that Cookson does not want to.
However, if there are legal problems with banning, could the UCI institute the policy of naming any riders found racing on these drugs? It’s not a ban, it’s not a slur, they’re just saying what they found. They could announce that they were going to do this: teams would probably decide not to take the bad PR. (They could do this with all drugs – maybe actually do something to stop the peloton’s rampant, if legal, drug use.)
As for TUEs, there could be permanent TUEs, whilst not allowing the Froome-type TUEs as seen at the 2014 Romandie – a race he won on a PED.
As for the number of asthmatic cyclists…
The UCI rule suggested that Katusha would be banned, then – as many of us predicted – it didn’t happen. (Of course it wouldn’t be Cookson’s fault – some seem to think that the President should take no responsibility for what the UCI does.)
Cookson can’t just rule like a dictator, but you wonder how much he really wants to change things and how much he is a politician attempting to stay in power.

Nick February 24, 2016 at 7:04 pm

The problems of going beyond WADA’s code is precisely that it is more difficult to show that a rule complies with the law – the actual law that applies in the countries in which the professional cycling operates, predominately that of the EU – if you’re seeking to go beyond an established regulatory regime. It’s not impossible, but as explained above, the UCI would need to show why a change is necessary.

J Evans February 24, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Necessary: riding on opioids is a safety issue – for the rider taking them and other riders.
And, as I say, just go public with who is taking what – no punishment, just the truth.
But all we’re going to hear are excuses.

Sam February 24, 2016 at 7:57 pm

Nick, you are in the right of it, as the saying goes

J Evans March 4, 2016 at 10:40 pm

Well said MPCC:
Calling for a ban on tr4m4dol and corticosteroids.
(Also, a minimum of four years for motors. And showing up Katusha/Astana/Lampre for what they are.)
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/mpcc-says-katusha-astana-and-lampre-merida-only-joined-out-of-opportunism/

Anton February 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm

I suppose it was only a matter of time for Katusha. I would have preferred if they said “you know what we’ll take the quick ban and learn some lessons”. That is just a dream though.

The Inner Ring February 24, 2016 at 3:21 pm

It’s a difficult public relations battle. Not many will have noticed yesterday’s move and most of those who did will stop worrying by Saturday. But if the team is stopped for a week and Kristoff or Špilak have to miss Paris-Nice or Milan-Sanremo then everyone notices and we get Katusha + doping + suspension headlines.

DMC February 24, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Excellent point JV – watch everyone jump on the MPCC bandwagon once ASO only invites MPCC teams (they potentially can leave Katusha and Astana at home).

Take that the next step – what happens when ASO only invites MPCC and non-Velon teams?!? That will turn cycling on its head.

Now, that will make this interesting.

Sam February 24, 2016 at 3:50 pm

As things stand, that would mean just AG2R, Dimension Data, FDJ and IAM Cycling from the current WT teams

What a cracking Tour 🙂

Mind you, would create a strong possibility of a French winner….

DMC February 25, 2016 at 3:18 pm

haha, but all the other teams will jump back to MPCC if the ASO made that a policy! French teams will be out of luck again! haha

DMC February 24, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Agreed with Inrng big time – people criticised MPCC, but they have raised the anti-doping bar big time!

MPCC has led the way for the past 3-5 years in the war against anti-doping.

Now, MPCC needs to find what their next step is. I hope they find away to stay relevant. I can think of a few ways, but I hope they can too.

Larry T. February 24, 2016 at 4:29 pm

You summed the whole thing up well with your second sentence. Just imagine a potential big-time pro cycling sponsor reading this post and the comments. One who knew nothing about the sport but was being pitched a deal based on demographics, etc. of the audience. After reading this, why would anyone in their right mind want to spend a lot of money to be involved in this farce? But instead we hear how enhanced video coverage and real-time telemetry will “save” the sport and make everyone rich. The real RACING season can’t get started soon enough for me!

Anonymous February 24, 2016 at 4:41 pm

All pro sports are a farce. Cycling is probably better than most.

Hear, hear, to the racing.

DMC February 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm

haha, absolutely.

yes, finally, i want some racing! Can’t wait for the Omloop.

A Kid on a Lawn February 25, 2016 at 12:10 am

The real racing season has been started for a month or more, Larry.
Do keep up.

Othersteve February 25, 2016 at 2:19 am

Hey Kid on the Lawn, careful you will one day be in Larry’s toeclips!
Keep it up Larry we love you.

Larry T. February 25, 2016 at 8:34 am

Sorry, Milano-Sanremo’s not until March 19 this year. But at least a lot of the pre-season stuff is now in “proper cycling countries” so there’s that. The old curmudgeon even ponied up for some Eurosport coverage for this weekend 🙂

CM February 24, 2016 at 9:51 pm

A very tacky state of affairs from the predictable Katusha, initially set up by UCI weakness.
At least Ettix’ Gaviria is continuing to provide a class act for cycling; nice gesture out of rather stupid adversity at la Provence, I thought.

Paul Jakma February 24, 2016 at 10:33 pm

The MPCC needs to drop the “no race” sanctions. If they just had a code of conduct, and certified which members currently were and which were not, then it might be viable. Requiring teams to take penalties to stay in is just a recipe for teams leaving. As a public “honour system” though it might work.

Andy February 24, 2016 at 10:56 pm

Kristoff is critical to Katusha leaving the MPCC, saying team “running from its responsibility”
In norwegian:
http://www.procycling.no/kristoff-ingen-krise-a-sta-utenfor-mpcc/

Andy February 24, 2016 at 11:01 pm
Pierre-Jean February 25, 2016 at 12:24 pm

I sincerely hope he’s not being hypocritical saying that.

ZigaK February 25, 2016 at 8:18 am

There is an important difference in mpcc and uci bans for teams. Uci ban is 15 days minimum, but it starts as the second doping positive is confirmed. This could be “played” as the rider caught would admit doping at the appropriate time, so the ban is served in the off season. On the other hand, mpcc ban is only 8 days, but it starts with the wt race, effectively meaning missing 2 wt races.

J Evans February 25, 2016 at 10:33 am

Is it 15 calendar days, no matter what? I.e. even if no racing is lost? Surely, you’d make it X number of racing days?
Surely even the UCI wouldn’t be that stupid… he said before running out of hope half way through the sentence.

J Evans February 25, 2016 at 11:37 am

One is left with the question why did the UCI *choose* to make their rule ineffectual?
Why did the UCI not just copy the MPCC rule?
It’s hard to believe that this was just incompetence and that they didn’t think it through.
The UCI continually fails to effectively combat the – legal and illegal – drug use in the peloton; to the extent that one wonders how it can possibly not be a deliberate policy.
The odd rider is caught when they do something blatant, but do the politician-type people in charge not want to upset the people who elect them by opening that particular can and finding worms everywhere?

ZigaK February 25, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Actually the rules say it starts as 2nd A sample is announced, but in case of Katusha they were waiting for sample B, so I don’t exactly know which one is correct.

J Evans February 25, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Either way, if you wanted it to be an effective punishment, you’d make it X number of WT racing days. That’s if you did want that.

Nick February 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm

That wouldn’t be particularly effective against teams outside the WT.

J Evans February 26, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Whatever level the team is at. Sorry, I should have made that clear.

BC February 25, 2016 at 10:23 am

Lots of Italian and Italian based teams seem not to like belonging to the MPCC !

I agree the organization has done a good job and has probably reached its sell by date, but the behavior of certain teams leaves a lot to be desired when the sport is desperately looking for some evidence of credibility. It will be interesting to see the ASO stance if they decide to continue to remain outside the World Tour. The MPCC is after all, a French led initiative.

In the litigation heavy world we live in, it seems only those of us who are of little importance and keep below the radar can continue living a ‘normal’ life !

Sam February 25, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Fair points, BC.

As for the ASO, MPCC and the Tour, the ASO for all its blarney about ‘protecting the integrity of cycling in Europe yada yada’ is a business. And we will not see a Tour from which ASO omit Froome, Quintana and Nibali (leaving aside Bert as who knows whats happening with him next year)

J Evans February 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

ASO looks after its best interests – which also means they look after their races, which is good for cycling. The same cannot be said for Velon’s interests; nor possibly even the UCI’s.
The idea that ASO might only invite MPCC teams has no basis in fact; neither does the idea that there is some nationality link between the teams leaving MPCC when the going gets tough.
All this seems like ‘distractioneering’ from the real issues: are Italians rather than the British president of the UCI being focused on here because this is an English speaking website?
Most seem to like the MPCC’s ideas, whilst ignoring the fact that the UCI has either failed to take on these ideas, or has done so in a manner that means they are easily circumvented (e.g. even if they did ban a team for doping, it would be easy for the team to choose when this ban was – why not just make it the next X amount of WorldTour racing days as MPCC did?).
There seems to be an attitude of ‘the authorities are correct and should not be questioned’.
Cookson says that certain things cannot be done – e.g. banning drugs that are not on WADA’s list – and people accept this as absolute fact.
He makes himself look good by introducing rules that stem from the MPCC – and gets that in the media – but then fails to produce effective punishments. Is this incompetence or a lack of will?
For me, the good will granted to him on the basis that he was not Pat McQuaid ran out a long time ago.

The Inner Ring February 25, 2016 at 3:44 pm

You might want the UCI to do this and that but it’s simply not so easy for a mid-size sports governing body to ban substances it doesn’t like which are legal for WADA, especially when it comes to ruling on employment conditions for millionaires who can hire a lot of lawyers to explore every angle. This was all spelled out here the other day:
http://inrng.com/2016/02/the-grey-area/

The best thing is for WADA to lead here.

J Evans February 25, 2016 at 3:56 pm

I’d have thought that it would be better for the UCI to say ‘We want to ban these drugs, but legally we’re not sure that we can’ and then ask the teams to agree not to use them. Nothing legally binding and no punishment threatened, but then you can name the teams who refuse to agree. The threat of bad PR might dissuade the teams from using the drugs.
Also – and I’ve no idea if this is legal, but it would also be good to name the riders who then have the drugs in their samples – just naming them, not taking any sanctions. It would be good to have this honesty policy for all substances in all riders’ samples. Maybe that would actually do something about cyclists’ (legal) drug use.
But the UCI seems very comfortable doing nothing – always falling back on the ‘It’s not legal’ argument.
And none of this explains why whilst the MPCC ban was for the next WT races, the UCI chose to make their ban based on a number of days. Did the UCI really not realise that this would help the banned teams get round the rule?

The Inner Ring February 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm

What about teams that agree but then sneak pills or liquids to riders? Surely a governing body needs firm rules, not PR stunts.

J Evans February 25, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Then, those drugs would then be found in the riders’ systems in testing. No punishment, but the public would have a much greater idea of what certain teams are up to. I don’t see that as a PR stunt: it’s transparency. At the moment, we have no idea how prevalent the use of, say, opioids is in the peloton. Better for us to know and it would probably reduce the use. As it is, the teams/riders are using these drugs anyway.
Some of this looks like the bad old days: the UCI not tackling drug use effectively and the media failing to ask them questions – why did they change the rules of the MPCC ban when they adopted it?

Sam H February 25, 2016 at 5:22 pm

I can’t believe it is that difficult given that they were able to do it before WADA existed, which isn’t that long ago…

Sam February 25, 2016 at 5:42 pm

Sam H: WADA was created off the back of the Festina affair. It is in place now, CAS has become a major factor in athletes or governing bodies appealing judgements, and we are in a whole different legal environment where any chink that a lawyer can spot, is leveraged in the process of fighting sanction decisions.

So there is a lot more caution.

DMC February 26, 2016 at 1:38 am

J Evans – you’re on to something. If ASO pulled it’s races, set up it’s own league with the other top organisers and did it’s own testing (AFLD or other labs), it could set up as tough rules as possible. Then it would be free from WADA’s code and the IOC, but just like MLB (which does it’s own testing, albeit much easier than WADA’s) it could also negotiate it’s athletes into the olympics. The IOC would give in and let the athletes participate. All they want are the top athletes, and the top riders want to ride the TdF (highest TV ratings and therefore the highest winnings), so this would work and the UCI would be left to twiddle it’s thumbs at BMX races.

J Evans February 26, 2016 at 11:36 am

‘On to something’, but deleted. It was a dangerously subversive post.

Larry T. February 25, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Hmmm. in response to a post about Katusha bailing out of MPCC you write “Lots of Italian and Italian based teams seem not to like belonging to the MPCC !” The other squad recently bailing out was Orica. Do I even want to know your point here?

BC February 25, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Larry. Simply a fairly difficult to miss observation. No, of course you are free to avoid asking the obvious question this plethora of withdrawals might raise. It is worth remembering where the abuse, starting in the 90s originated. Agree about Orica, Aussies, but like the Kazakhs and Russians these guys spend a lot of time in Italy – at all stages of their career ! It is simply an observation coupled with the relatively high number of recent ‘positives’ from Italian teams. Don’t shoot the observer.

I’m surprised you didn’t mention Sky or more pointedly Lotto – Jumbo – you would certainly have had a valid point !

Look the serious point in all this is that for a sport that is supposed to be trying to climb out of the deep pit it made for itself, the shenanigans of openly and cynically using the MPCC as a shield when it suits and then jumping ship at the first sign of a problem, does neither the sport or its supposed anti doping commitments any favours.

Larry T. February 25, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Sorry, the “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” implications are lost on me. I’ll admit to being an unabashed Italo-phile, but can you explain what is so ITALIAN about all of this? I’ve been around through plenty of the “dirty, rotten, cheating Italian” baloney spewed by various Anglo-Saxons over the years but I thought that was pretty much over once notable non-Italians like BigTex and Co. + the likes of David Millar, etc. were outed as dirty, rotten, cheaters.

DMC February 25, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Cycling’s drug problems didn’t start in the 90’s in Italy… It even started well before BigTex was on the scene.

BC’s missing the point.

These athletes spend a lot of time in Spain as well, (eg. the Tenerife island). Doping definitely happened in these countries, but it was a pretty world wide problem, athletes and teams from Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, US, Australia, Canada (Ben Johnson), etc. all used PED’s. You can’t blame one country for this.

How did we get on this? Oh right, a lot of teams from most countries don’t like joining the MPCC right now.

Yes, ASO is pretty committed to avoiding the WT, they were very clear they want to control their race and the rule structure that it falls under.

DMC February 25, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Recent positives from Italian teams: Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Jure Kocjan (US team), Tommy D (Garmin), Giampaolo Caruso (Italian riding for Russian team – Katusha), Gallego (Spain), etc.

I could go on and on. Yes, there are Italians involved, but there are many other countries that have to clean up (eg. Russia’s recent systematic doping scandal).

Your point that the sport is trying to climb out of the pit it made for itself is lost when you make an observation that one country is to blame.

BC February 25, 2016 at 6:53 pm

DMC. I have not missed the point at all, I am simply stating the blindingly obvious. I made no accusation other than pointing out the cynical behavior exhibited by teams who leave the MPCC when faced with a doping problem. This does not reflect well on the sport. The number of Italian or Italian based teams that have decided to leave the MPCC when faced with sanctions is worthy of note – the numbers are far beyond any other member based country. This is simply a statement concerned with cynicism. I was talking about the widespread use of EPO in the peloton from the early 90s. I am certainly not so stupid or naive as to claim only one nation was or is doping – please give me a little credit for not posting gibberish on a well informed site. I assumed the dateline would be the clue. This is long before Tenerife, LA, or even BJ (1988). I am NOT blaming one country. However, the research, development and use of EPO for sporting purposes was an early Italian specialty, with their national anti -doping body CONI fooled by the researchers and even funding the research. We all know the researchers names.

I don’t really know why I have to state the obvious, that doping has been a part of the sport since bike racing began. It is a well known fact. That the whole professional peloton, from every competing nation, was in a short time frame heavily into EPO abuse is also patiently obvious . Please read my posts with a little more though. I have never accused the Italians alone of EPO abuse, but they do at the very least appear to be more cynical than most. I know full well the full list of cyclists banned for substance abuse.

Larry. I am not defending Anglo Saxons. Doped bike riders are the same the world over. Anglo’s have doped since the very first competitions with the infamous Choppy Warlburton, supplying opiates long before Simpson through Millar to Tiernan-Locke and all the others. Once the EPO problem became endemic there were very few individual exceptions.

I throw back Basso !

Larry T. February 25, 2016 at 8:32 pm

I will make one (I promise!) final try here, You wrote: “The number of Italian or Italian based teams that have decided to leave the MPCC when faced with sanctions is worthy of note – the numbers are far beyond any other member based country. ” and I ask for you to stop the innuendo and simply “name and shame” all of them for me. OK? Grazie!

DMC February 25, 2016 at 9:07 pm

BC – exactly, to Larry’s point, what Italian / Italian-based teams are you talking about? I think I showed pretty plainly that the latest doping problems were international, and I could easily show that the history of doping definitely doesn’t revolve around Italy.

Please list who you meant with this: “Lots of Italian and Italian based teams seem not to like belonging to the MPCC”.

HWSB February 25, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Taking a step back, reading this post and comments, just wanted to add:

INRNG = best cycling content on the web.

Thanks!

Alex February 25, 2016 at 2:24 pm

+1, can’t agree more.

BC February 25, 2016 at 9:16 pm

Larry. Sorry, there is NO innuendo, simply a statement of fact. We can draw our own suspicions from the situation, but I keep mine to myself.

The list of Italian or Italian based teams that have left the MPCC has already been covered in INRNGs post. I don’t really understand your point. Compare and contrast Italian numbers with say French (0, even with one team voluntary suspending itself) Belgium (0), German (0), or Spanish (0). If you take just the Italian teams then Lampre – Merida, Southeast and Bardiani – CFS have all jumped ship, with one additional team accepting self suspension. If you are arguing that say Astana or Southeast are not registered in Italy, it is a little like arguing that BMC is an American team based in Europe. Sorry, but I am really struggling to see the thrust of your point. I am NOT naming and shaming anybody, simply pointing out what the evidence illustrates.

I am done with this thread. If people want to read things into what I consider self evident, then I have nothing further to add.

Joel February 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Do you think it’d be worth reading some of the legal arguments thoroughly before commenting?

Unfortunately what one would like to do and what one can do are not the same.

But it appears you know everything.

DMC February 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Inrng does know all, glad you acknowledge it!

J Evans February 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm

I’m assuming this is aimed at me.
At no point did I suggest that I knew what is and isn’t legal.
Hence, I wrote ‘I’ve no idea if this is legal’.
What I am doing is questioning the authority’s motivations. And I’m questioning if what they say is actually the case.
And whilst I do make some suggestions at no point to I say that I have the answers.
Questions, I do have – not blind obedience.

J Evans February 25, 2016 at 4:39 pm

My last reply was to Joel.

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