29 cases of alleged doping recorded in cycling in 2022, but only one at WorldTour

Most came from semi-professional ranks, MPCC finds

Anti-doping sign at Tour de France 2013
(Image credit: Getty)

There were 29 cases of alleged doping in cycling in 2022, according to figures released today by anti-doping union Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC). 

This is 10 more cases than in 2021, and the second highest tally in the past eight years. 

The MPCC gathered data from federations, anti-doping agencies, courts and press articles, taking into account cases relating only to professional athletes. It then collated the information, ordering it by sport and country, and published it under its annual ‘credibility figures’. 

The 29 cases recorded in cycling, the MPCC revealed, came from 15 countries and were split across six disciplines. The vast majority of the cases - 23 out of 29 - involved male riders. 

Still, the union was optimistic about the results, citing that only two cases came from the sport’s uppermost tiers of racing, the WorldTour and the ProTour. “This is actually the lowest number (2 cases) ever recorded since the Festina affair!” the MPCC wrote, referring to the doping scandal that surrounded the 1998 Tour de France

According to the union, the only WorldTour case recorded in 2022 was that involving Nairo Quintana. The Colombian was retrospectively disqualified from the Tour de France in August after two of his blood samples revealed the presence of tramadol, a painkiller banned by the UCI, but not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) prohibited list. 

On Quintana, the MPCC said: “His team nevertheless remained in compliance with the rules of our movement, as the rider was immediately banned from competition by his team Arkéa-Samsic, which did not keep him on the squad at the end of the season.”

Quintana, who is still without a team for 2023, has repeatedly denied having taken tramadol. 

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Currently, nine of the 19 men’s WorldTour teams are members of the MPCC: AG2R Citroën, Alpecin-Deceuninck, Arkéa-Samsic, Bora-Hansgrohe, Cofidis, EF Education-EasyPost, Groupama FDJ, Intermarché Circus Wanty and Team DSM.  

The movement includes a total of 30 professional cycling teams from across the men’s and women’s peloton, as well as 21 Continental teams. 

“In 2022, the large majority of doping proceedings in top-level cycling concerned semi-professional men riders from continental road teams (12 cases),” the MPCC wrote. “The Portuguese team W52-FC Porto was even disbanded after the police revealed possible organised doping.”

In July, the UCI revoked the licence of W52-FC Porto as part of an ongoing doping investigation. Eight of the 11 riders on the team were also suspended. 

The MPCC stressed that none of the cases revealed at cycling’s Continental level came from within any of the union's member teams. 

It concluded: “We strongly encourage these semi-professional teams to join the MPCC, in order to put their ethics and credibility at the heart of our sport’s concerns.” 

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