Katusha team requests membership of MPCC, team faces CAS delay
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Katusha team requests membership of MPCC, team faces CAS delay

by Shane Stokes at 2:36 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Court of Arbitration for Sport turns down request for temporary WorldTour registration

Continuing its push to try to secure places in top events in 2013, the Katusha team has formally applied for membership of the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible [Movement for a Credible Cycling/MPCC].

The team has had its racing programme thrown into turmoil by a UCI Licencing Commission decision to refuse it ProTeam registration. The team is currently fighting that via an application to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but learned today that a interim request for temporary WorldTour registration had been turned down.

As a result it is almost certain to miss the first WorldTour event of the season, the Santos Tour Down Under. An invitation to ride the Tour de San Luis in Argentina also depends on it being given registration, although a Pro Continental licence would suffice to be able to ride.

Should the team ultimately end up as a Pro Continental squad, wildcard invites will be needed for all of the big events. Many race organisers have said that they will give priority to MPCC teams, and this is partly the reason why Katusha has sought membership.

“As President of the Board of Directors of Katusha Management Sa (Katusha), a company managing a professional cycling team domiciled in Geneva, Switzerland, I herewith would like to formally apply as a member of the MPCC,” wrote the team’s general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov in a letter to the MPCC.

“Katusha was founded in 2009 and since 2010 has operated as a World Tour ProTeam with the International Cycling Union (UCI). The UCI so far did not accept Katusha as a UCI ProTeam for 2013. We are currently appealing against this UCI decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

In the letter, the former US Postal Service professional laid out the reasons why the team wanted MPCC membership. He listed these as “to demonstrate our full commitment to the combat of any anti-doping measures; to give further guidance to all Katusha team members concerning personal behaviour and the general combat of doping; to meet the most actual requirements as set by various tour operators and/or organizers.”

The MPCC requires all its members to accept tougher anti-doping rules than are currently required of teams. In addition to the WADA and UCI regulations, member teams are required to:

- No longer allow riders race after they have an initial positive test.
- Not sign up riders who have a suspension of more than six months [with the exception of whereabouts cases] for two years after the suspension.
- Not give corticoid injections without imposing a break from competition of eight days.
- Carry out internal procedures from the first positive case on a team.
- Suspend itself automatically following several positive cases in a twelve month period.

In his letter, Ekimov said that the team noted and fully accepted the internal rules.

The MPCC will now consider the application from Katusha, along with the other teams which have also said they want to become members. Their acceptance will be voted on in the upcoming general meeting on February 7th.

Katusha learned on December 10th that its registration as a WorldTour team had been refused by the Licence Commission; ethical reasons are thought to be the basis for the decision. It is seeking to have the decision overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but a secondary request by the team for temporary registration in the WorldTour was refused earlier today.

“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected a request for provisional measures filed by Katusha Management SA asking for the temporary registration of its professional team in the 2013 UCI ProTour,” it said in a brief statement.

“The CAS will now consider the main appeal of Katusha Management SA which requests that the decision of the Licensing Commission of the UCI of 18 December 2012 concerning Katusha be annulled and that Katusha be admitted to the UCI ProTour for the entire 2013 season. A hearing will be scheduled shortly in order for a final decision to be issued as quickly as possible.”

CAS did not specify when that hearing would be held, but with the Tour de San Luis starting on January 21sst and the Santos Tour Down Under beginning one day later, time is running out as regards the first events of the new season.


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