Team Katusha announced that it will pull out of the Movement For Credible Cycling (MPCC) due to a “duality of rules” between UCI regulations and those of the voluntary body. It becomes the second team this week to withdraw from the group after Orica – GreenEdge did so earlier on Tuesday.
According to a statement, the team is displeased by the MPCC’s decision to enforce its mandatory self-suspension in the event of multiple positive tests. The positive test of Eduard Vorganov in January was the team’s second in a 12-month period.
However, the UCI’s disciplinary commission opted not to suspend Katusha following Vorganov’s positive, waiving a regulation that requires any team with two doping infractions in a single year be subject to suspension. The UCI allowed the team to continue racing because the team’s first positive test, the cocaine positive of Luca Paolini, was deemed recreational, not performance-enhancing.
According to a statement from Katusha, the MPCC nonetheless intended to require Katusha to self-suspend, as Ag2r La Mondiale did last year.
“Team Katusha understands 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,” the team said in a statement.
Katusha claims that this self-suspension would itself run afoul of the UCI’s regulations requiring all WorldTour teams to attend all WorldTour races, and that it would be suspended by the UCI as a result. However, the UCI waived the relevant regulation in Ag2r’s case, allowing the team to self-suspend without suffering an additional UCI suspension.
The MPCC is a voluntary body, and both Astana and LottoNL – Jumbo previously left the group rather than taking a voluntary suspension. Orica-GreenEdge left the group this week, stating that the UCI’s updated rules are now sufficient.
In recent years, the UCI added a no-needle policy and suspensions for teams with more than one positive test, both ideas borrowed from MPCC. Katusha contends that since the two sets of rules, MPCC and UCI, now frequently mirror each other, the result is double punishment for a single crime.
Now, only seven of 18 WorldTour teams are part of MPCC.