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Sunday 28, Feb 2016

  Orica-GreenEdge And Katusha Leave MPCC

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Australian professional road race cycling team Orica–GreenEDGE and Russian road bicycle racing team Katusha have decided to leave the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) because they now believe rules of the UCI are enough.

Orica-GreenEdge and Katusha became the latest teams to have left the MPCC after the exit of LottoNL – Jumbo and Lampre – Merida. LottoNL and Lampre left MPCC after its riders were blocked from racing under rules of the France-based voluntary organization. American Chris Horner, who was previously with Lampre, was unable to defend his Vuelta a España title in 2014 because of low cortisol levels and the same was experienced by LottoNL’s George Bennett during last year’s Giro d’Italia. Previously, the Astana team ignored the cortisol rules of MPCC ahead of the 2014 Tour de France in allowing Lars Boom to race and Astana was later expelled from the organization. The same thing happened with Bardiani-CSF team at the 2015 Giro d’Italia and also left the MPCC.

The problem of overlapping rules was acknowledged by UCI president Brian Cookson who remarked the only rules teams should have to worry about are those of the world governing body of cycling, the UCI.

In a press release, Orica’s general manager Shayne Bannan said we would like to thank all the current and former members of the MPCC for the discussions and initiatives and for sincerely helping the sport move further in the right direction. Bannan added we fully support the initiatives that have now become an integrated part of the rules of the sport. Going onwards, we will be a strong supporter of seeing these and other initiatives being further developed by the official organizations in collaboration with all the other teams and stakeholders of cycling.

In a statement, Team Katusha said 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. Team Katusha statement further reads that it regrets the position of the MPCC and in particular its refusal to adapt its rules to the mandatory UCI Regulations and as a consequence Team Katusha has no other choice but to leave the MPCC with immediate effect. Team Katusha also said it would like to underline that it continues to fight against doping by every possible means as it has done in the past years. In this respect, Team Katusha will continue to voluntarily apply other MPCC rules – such as the prohibition to use Tramadol or the imposition of several rest days for a rider in the event of collapsing cortisol levels.

The MPCC, without Orica and Katusha, count only seven of the 18 WorldTour teams as members: Ag2r La Mondiale, Cannondale, Dimension Data, FDJ, Giant – Alpecin, IAM Cycling, and Lotto – Soudal. Teams like Astana, Etixx – Quick-Step, Lampre, LottoNL, Movistar, Sky, Tinkoff, and U.S.-registered teams BMC Racing and Trek-Segafredo are not members of the MPCC.

The MPCC existed for some time and gained momentum after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. Many teams signed up to its stricter rules for increasing the stance of professional cycling against doping and controversial teams.

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Monday 24, Dec 2012

  Cycling World Number One Has No Regrets Staying With Katusha

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Cycling World Number One Has No Regrets Staying With Katusha

Despite the Russian team facing exclusion from the WorldTour, cycling world number one Joaquim Rodriguez has no regrets about signing a new deal with Katusha in the off-season.

The world governing body of cycling (UCI) has rejected the application of the team to compete next year in the World Tour because of Katusha’s doping record over the past four years. The team, which finished second in the World Tour standings this year, has appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Rodriguez said after Katusha’s official presentation in the Italian city of Brescia said it is true that he had a chance to go to another team after this season was finished but said he would not deny that he wanted to renegotiate the contract to get a bigger one after enjoying a good season in 2012. The Spaniard, nicknamed ‘Purito’, had an excellent season in 2012 where he won twos stages in the Giro d’Italia, finishing second overall to Canadian Ryder Hesjedal. The stocky Spaniard also finished third overall in the Spanish Vuelta in September before winning the final major classic race – Tour of Lombardy – to claim the top position in the World Tour standings ahead of Britain’s Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins.

Rodriguez said many teams wanted him after such a good season and he had many offers but he decided to stay with Katusha after he got a very good deal from it. The 33-year-old when asked if he regretted his decision and if he changed his mind knowing that Katusha would be kicked out of the top flight remarked that he has given his word to the team and will stick to it to fulfil his commitments and further added that he will get a chance of riding both the Giro and Vuelta again next year as Katusha is appealing the UCI decision.

The UCI cited “ethical reasons” behind its dramatic decision to deny Katusha a place in the 18-team WorldTour league for 2013 and outlined several ethical question marks surrounding the Russia-backed team in its “reasoned decision,” which it forwarded to the team. The cycling body catalogued a string of doping problems within the team dating back to the EPO positives of Toni Colom and Christian Pfannberger in the 2009 season, as well as the EPO positive of Russian sprinter Denis Galimzyanov besides pointing to the doping positive of Alexander Kolobnev during the 2011 Tour de France, which was later absolved by the Russian cycling federation. The UCI went on to refer the alleged selling of the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège by Kolobnev to ex-pro Alexander Vinokourov for 150,000 euros besides citing the removal of German team manager Hans-Michael Holczer, who was replaced with Russian ex-pro Viatcheslav Ekimov, a longtime teammate of Lance Armstrong.

Katusha reaffirmed its intention to battle the UCI snub in a challenge to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and said the team said it would battle in “civilized ways.” If the team should win the CAS appeal, the license commission would restart the review process for all seven teams [Ag2r La Mondiale, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Garmin-Sharp, Blanco (former Rabobank), Argos-Shimano, and Saxo-Tinkoff besides Katusha] that applied for extension for 2013, according to UCI rules (Art. 2.15.026 and 2.15.241).

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Sunday 23, Dec 2012

  Katusha Defend Doping Record

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Katusha Defend Doping Record

Team Katusha, the Russian road bicycle racing team which participates in the UCI World Tour, have defended their record on doping after the world governing body of cycling dropped them from the top flight. The team is now putting its faith in the Court of Arbitration for Sport to regain their elite status.

The license commission of the UCI last week rejected the application of Katusha for competing in the World Tour next year due to the doping record of the team over the past four years. The team that finished second in the World Tour standings this year have appealed the decision to the Lausanne-based CAS.

Katusha General Manager Vyacheslav Ekimov after the team’s official presentation in the Italian city of Brescia said the team received a statement from the UCI, explaining to us the reasons for their decision. Ekimov remarked that the team was told that Katusha have had the most doping cases among all the Pro Tour teams, citing four cases between 2009 and 2012 and added that the case of Alexandr Kolobnev should not be counted because he was later cleared of any doping charges.

At the 2011 Tour de France, Kolobnev escaped a suspension for failing a drug test after the Russian cycling federation took into account extenuating circumstances in his case. Ekimov added that the UCI blamed the team for Denis Galimzyanov’s positive test, even though the rider had admitted that it was his own mistake and said the cycling’s governing body do not do enough testing within the team for catching doping cheats. Galimzyanov tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO), the banned blood booster, in April. The top sprinter of Russia was subsequently fired by Katusha and said he took the drug by himself without telling anyone in the team and Galimzyanov was banned by the anti-doping agency of Russia for two years, starting from April 13, 2012.

Ekimov, a long-time team mate of disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong, when questioned about his own doping record said the cycling’s world governing body never mentioned his name, Denis Menchov, or that of Michele Ferrari. Katusha leader Menchov’s integrity came under a cloud after French sports daily L’Equipe produced its doping suspicion index in which Menchov was rated at 9; the doping suspicion index lists riders who are given a rating of suspicion on a scale from 0 – not suspicious – to 10 – highly suspicious. Menchov denied the allegations and said it was just a case of sour grapes by the French. Triple Olympic champion Ekimov,  who was awarded his third Olympic gold medal after American Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his Athens 2004 time trial title because of doping, questioned the methods employed by the UCI.

Every Katusha rider, including world number one Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez, expressed their loyalty to the team, remarked Ekimov who also added that all our major sponsors are also committed to the team even if we are excluded from the elite. Ekimov said in case the CAS decision goes against them, we’ll think of an alternative plan.

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