Cycling cleaner than baseball, rugby and boxing in 2018, according to anti-doping campaigners

A study by the Movement for Credible Cycling has explored the number of doping cases across sport

An amateur racer has been banned for doping

(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Cycling’s tainted reputation among world sport may no longer reflect reality, judging by statistics compiled by anti-doping campaigners.

According to pro cycling’s movement against performance enhancing drugs, cycling was cleaner than 12 other sports, including baseball, rugby, boxing and American Football.

The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) - a collection of cycling teams, former riders, and other sponsors trying to clean up the sport's image – has compiled the number of doping offences across dozens of sport to compare cases.

According to the research, cycling is 13th in the list of sports where doping and corruption are most prevalent, with 17 cases revealed to the public in 2018.

In a statement released alongside the figures, the MPCC said: “We reckon cycling fans will be glad to see that their sport is ranked quite low in this classification of doping and corruption cases, far behind American sports, but also athletics, football and rugby.

>>> Email sent from testosterone supplier to Dr Richard Freeman obtained by BBC

“The one actual trend we can identify is that cycling is getting further away from the top of our doping cases classification.

“Though, cycling fans must mitigate their satisfaction – this is not due to a drop in doping cases, but mainly caused by this new transparency granted by the federations.”

In 2018 there were 17 doping cases in cycling revealed to the public, either by the press or by anti-doping authorities.

By comparison, track and field had the most doping offences confirmed with 98, followed by 83 in baseball and 74 in weightlifting.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SportNumber of doping cases in 2018 (doping + corruption cases)
Track and field98 (102)
Football16 (73)
Cricket7 (34)
American football33
Biathlon14 (27)
Tennis6 (25)
Boxing20 (21)
Ice hockey7
Rugby league6
Basketball5 (6)
Cue sports3 (4)
Alpine skiing3
Nordic skiing3
Handball2 (3)


Football saw 16 offences, while there were 41 for equestrian sports.

The MPCC has compiled these statistics for the last five years, but for the first time has also collected corruption data – cases of match-fixing and financial misconduct.

The organisation said it has not been able to detect a trend in doping within cycling, with figures remaining at a consistent level in recent years.

There were no cases of corruption revealed to the public in cycling last year.

>>>Riders face disqualification, bans and suspension for using tramadol in competition as UCI bans painkiller

According to the study, there were two doping cases at WorldTour level, four at Pro Continental and four at continental.

Most offences were in the road discipline (11), with one in BMX, four in mountain biking and one on the track.

A majority of doping offences in cycling were also committed by men – 15 compared to just two in the women’s side of the sport.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1