PARIS, Nov 7, 2012 (AFP) – The “clean cycling” union has called for a zero
tolerance approach to doping from next year, as the sport tries to claw back
its credibility after the damaging Lance Armstrong scandal.
In a letter, the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) called for the
international association of race organizers, the World Anti-Doping Agency and
European cycling confederation to back moves to make zero tolerance “the
golden rule” in the sport.
The MPCC consists of 11 professional cycling teams and enforces a strict
ethical code that provides notably for the systematic dismissal of any rider
found to have tested positive for a major doping product and suspended for
more than six months.
The letter, a copy of which has been seen by AFP, urged all race organizers
to “adhere unreservedly” to the group’s philosophy of not inviting new members
who do not stick to their stringent anti-doping code.
“Like team managers, all organizers, including those from the WorldTour
when they hand out wild cards, have the power only to invite teams (whether
they are part of the MPCC or not) who respect our internal rules”, the
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme on October 24 gave his backing
to the MPCC, describing its approach as “the future” for the sport.
“The only way in which to change the culture (in cycling) is to apply
draconian rules such as those that members of the MPCC apply,” he added.
Elsewhere in the letter, the MPCC told WADA it was concerned about the
increasing use of corticosteroids, which riders have used to treat
inflammation and saddle sores but are on the banned list.
It also called on European bodies “not to select for national teams in any
discipline or race any rider suspended for more than six months in the two
years following their suspension”.
The MPCC said the sanction should not be retroactive but “should apply only
for (doping) violations committed from January 1, 2013″.
Cycling’s reputation has been hit by the fall-out from the Armstrong
affair, after the US Anti-Doping Agency said he was at the center of the
biggest doping program in the history of sport.
The US rider has been banned from cycling for life and stripped of his
career record from August 1, 1998, including his record seven Tour de France
The International Cycling Union (UCI), which has been under pressure to
reveal how Armstrong managed to escape detection for so long, meanwhile said
they would launch a consultation on the future of the sport starting in the
first quarter of next year.
“We must all work together to recover from the damage which the Armstrong
affair has undoubtedly done to our sport, the sport we all love and cherish,”
president Pat McQuaid said in an emailed statement.
The UCI has separately set up an independent commission to look at the
sport’s drug-scarred past, as outlined in the devastating Armstrong dossier,
and make recommendations to help restore confidence in the body and the sport
as a whole.
Its findings will be published no later than June 1, 2013.