Team Katusha announced today it would join fellow WorldTour team Orica-GreenEdge in leaving the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), citing a lack of alignment between the UCI Anti-Doping regulations and the MPCC's own rules as the main factor in its decision.
Katusha had a pair of anti-doping rule violations in the last 12 months, with Luca Paolini being ejected from the Tour de France after testing positive for cocaine, and Eduard Vorganov positive in January for the newly banned anti-ischemic drug Meldonium.
Under UCI rules, the team could have been suspended for 15-45 days for dual doping cases, but the Disciplinary Commission decided not to do so. However, the MPCC intended to push forward with its own internal suspension of the team.
Team Katusha issued a statement on the unwinnable situation. "A suspension of Team Katusha during a WorldTour race based on the MPCC Rules would violate the UCI Regulations of mandatory participation and the Disciplinary Commission would then be obliged to sanction the Team."
The team said the MPCC gave no ground on its rules, "despite a clear decision taken in this case by the UCI Disciplinary Commission and without acknowledging the specificity of the present case".
"Team Katusha regrets the position of the MPCC and in particular its refusal to adapt its rules to the mandatory UCI Regulations. As a consequence, Team Katusha has no other choice but to leave the MPCC with immediate effect."
Orica-GreenEdge cited different reasons for exiting the MPCC, saying that the group's initial efforts to tighten anti-doping rules had been integrated into the sport's regulations.
LottoNL-Jumbo left the MPCC in 2015, and Astana was ejected after starting Lars Boom in the Tour de France with low cortisol. There are just seven WorldTour teams left in the organisation: AG2R-La Mondiale, Cannondale, Dimension Data, FDJ, Giant-Alpecin, IAM Cycling, and Lotto Soudal.
Direct Energie rider Thomas Voeckler gave an impassioned video interview last week in which he decried the devaulation of the MPCC by teams who only joined the organisation to secure their chance to compete in the sport's top events.