Bardiani-CSF have rejoined the Movement for Credible Cycling on a probationary basis. The Italian squad were previously a member of the MPCC, but left the group in June 2015.
Bruno Reverberi's squad broke with the MPCC following the 2015 Giro d'Italia, when they reportedly refused to withdraw an unnamed rider who had returned low levels of cortisol in pre-race testing.
The MPCC's additional, voluntary anti-doping rules include more stringent checks on the use of corticosteroids. Therapeutic Use Exemptions are forbidden in competition and riders who display low levels of cortisol – which can indicate the use of cortisone – are required to be removed from racing until their levels return to normal.
In a statement issued on Monday morning, the MPCC said that it had accepted Bardiani-CSF's application to re-join the body, though noted that the squad are on probation.
"On 27 December, the MPCC's Board of Directors validated their membership on probation," read the MPCC statement. "The purpose of the movement is not to refuse teams applications. We will always be pleased when a team wants to commit to rules that are stricter than international authorities. In return, the MPCC demands an uncompromising respect for the regulation of the movement before considering full membership. Back in 2015, Bardiani-CSF de fact excluded itself from the movement by not complying with the internal regulation."
Bardiani-CSF's application to re-join the MPCC comes after two of the squad's riders, Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni, returned positive tests for growth hormone releasing peptides in out-of-competition controls ahead of the 2017 Giro. Both riders have since been handed four-year bans by the UCI.
Despite the controversy, the two title sponsors have confirmed that they will continue to back the squad until the end of the 2020 season. Bardiani-CSF boosted their roster in the off-season by signing Andrea Guardini from UAE Team Emirates and Manuele Senni from BMC Racing.
Bardiani-CSF are among the Pro Continental teams vying for the four wildcards slots on this year's Giro, which are due to be announced later this month. Androni Giocattoli look certain to secure one berth as winner of the 2017 Coppa Italia, and it is widely expected that Israel Cycling Academy will also be invited as the Giro gets underway from Israel on May 4. Nippo-Vini Fantini, Wilier Triestina, Gazprom-RusVelo and CCC Sprandi Polkowice are also believed to be in contention for a Giro invitation.
"The decision taken by Bruno and Roberto Reverberi, general and team manager of Bardiani-CSF, arises from the will to strengthen more and more the internal policy on antidoping and transparency," read a statement from Bardiani-CSF. "Last month, after a clarifying conversation with the president of the association, Roger Legeay, the team officially presented its purpose to become member again.
"The decision is based on the sharing of values and purposes promoted by MPCC to have a more and more clean cycling, a relevant and prevailing factor over the contrasts emerged in the past. Of course, the team has accepted and immediately adopted the Association's rules and relative obligations."
Bardiani-CSF are the third new Pro Continental team to join the MPCC for 2018 following Vital Concept Cycling Club and Euskadi-Murias. There are seven WorldTour teams in the MPCC – AG2R La Mondiale, Bora-Hansgrohe, EF Education First-Drapac, Dimension Data, Sunweb, Lotto-Soudal and FDJ.