MPCC calls for rule change to prevent riders under investigation from racing

Cycling anti-doping group the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) has called on the UCI to quickly change the rules so that they can prevent riders who are subject to an anti-doping investigation, such as Chris Froome, from taking part in races.

Froome will compete in his second race of the season at Tirreno-Adriatico, which starts on Wednesday, as he prepares for an attempt to win both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2018.

Having previously called on Team Sky to “voluntarily suspend” Froome while the investigation into his adverse analytical finding for a high concentration of salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a España is ongoing, the MPCC is now asking the UCI to give greater powers to race organisers to exclude riders under investigation from events.

>>> Tour de France boss criticises UCI for lack of action on anti-doping rules

“The [MPCC] board formally asks UCI and WADA for a standardisation of the procedures and that a rider facing a pending anti-doping enquiry should have to stop racing systematically,” read a press release from the organisation.

“In order to maintain cycling’s image and credibility, it is of great importance that when facing the situation of a positive or abnormal antidoping control result, the procedure remains the same whether the rider is part of a MPCC team or not.

“Waiting for a change in the official rules, the board presently asks the UCI to change its WorldTour rules: organizers should be able to exclude from their races a rider that would be facing a pending enquiry following a positive or abnormal control.”

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According to UCI rules, race organisers have the power to exclude a rider or team from a race if the commissaires and organisers agree that the rider or team “seriously blemishes the image of cycling or of the race”.

However if the rider or team do not agree with this decision, then the case will go before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Froome and Team Sky are currently working with lawyers and medical experts to explain an adverse analytical finding for a high concentration of salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta, but in the meantime Froome is allowed to continue racing due to the nature of the substance.

>>> Everything you need to know about Chris Froome’s salbutamol case

The MPCC is a membership organisation which includes seven WorldTour teams and 36 other professional teams. Team Sky is not a member.

Under internal MPCC rules, riders who are under investigation following a positive or adverse test are withdrawn from competition with immediate effect, regardless of whether they are eligible to race under World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

Having finished 10th overall at the Ruta del Sol in February, Froome will start Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday followed by the Tour of the Alps in April, ahead of the Giro d’Italia which starts in Jerusalem on May 4.