Road

MPCC suspends Neri Sottoli, warns Astana Continental team

Finding its explanation of the Rabottini doping positive to be unacceptable, MPCC suspends Neri Sottoli immediately, until October 2015

In a press release issued Wednesday, the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) announced that its board of directors has agreed to immediately suspend Italian team Neri Sottoli.

The Pro Continental outfit will be suspended for approximately 11 months, until the October 2015 MPCC general meeting.

At an October MPCC meeting in Paris, Neri Sottoli was told to provide additional explanation for Matteo Rabottini‘s failed anti-doping test that was returned in September, in advance of world championships. After the October meeting, MPCC said in a press release that Neri Sottoli “did not provide an explanation acceptable to the general meeting, to which it [did] not show up. The membership of Neri Sottoli team for 2015 will be dependent on the content of new explanations.”

Evidently, the team’s additional explanation did not sit well with MPCC. In the December 3 press release, the organization stated, “At the end of the interview with Serge Parsani, [the] team sporting director [for] Neri Sottoli, representing Angelo Citracca this Tuesday, the board of directors agreed unanimously to suspend the team Neri Sottoli with immediate effect, until the general meeting of October 2015.”

The MPCC is a voluntary organization for professional teams, so, although it is a black eye for Neri Sottoli, suspension from the organization is not likely to affect the team’s racing program. The Giro d’Italia will confirm its wildcard team selections in January, and Neri Sottoli may have a good chance of being picked, having raced the Giro and won the Coppa Italia series in 2014. When asked whether this recent development will affect wildcard selections, a representative from RCS Sport, which owns the Giro, declined to comment.

Also in Wednesday’s release, the MPCC said, “The board of directors took note of the decision by [the] Kazakh federation to suspend Continental team Astana’s activity. If the second opinions confirm the first tests and if Astana Continental were to resume its activity, it should start by self-suspending for five weeks, just as MPCC rules says (one week because of the second positive case and four weeks due to the third).”

At this point, Astana’s intentions for its embattled and suspended Continental squad remain unclear.