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IAM Cycling sporting manager Serge Beucherie has spoken about the importance of riders remaining clean, saying that not giving in to temptation to cut corners is crucial on both a personal and professional level.
Beucherie’s team is a member of the MPCC anti-doping movement and he gave his thoughts in a video released by it on Thursday.
“There are many ways to fight against doping,” he said, before explaining what he and others on the team tell the riders signed to it in order to help deter them from taking banned shortcuts.
“The speech to the riders is focussed on two main aspects. Firstly, the rider’s health. ‘Guys, it’s a beautiful sport, don’t ruin your health as there is a life after cycling.’
“Secondly, the rider’s image. You can be at the top of the hierarchy of cycling but if you are tested positive, you fall right down and you are no longer recognised by your family, your friends and cycling. Then there is their team. If one rider makes a mistake, the whole team can collapse.”
The MPCC features a number of voluntary rules which member teams must obey in order to remain part of the group. These include tougher measures than the standard anti-doping regulations on a range of subjects, including suspensions for teams who have two or more riders positive over a period of time, limitations on the use of cortisol out of competition, and also surprise cortisol tests which can lead to riders being blocked from starting events.
Low cortisol levels are interpreted by the MPCC as being a sign of a depleted immune system and thus a possible risk to health, and can be caused by the use of cortisone.
The latter test was the reason why Chris Horner was unable to defend his 2013 Vuelta a España title, with his Lampre-Merida team and other squads given cortisol controls prior to the start of the race.
As for the suspensions, the Astana team was forced to sit out a week’s racing after the Iglinskiy brothers Maxim and Valentin tested positive for EPO in August.
Three riders who started the season with the Astana Continental team were also nabbed in tests, returning positive results for anabolic androgenic steroids. These are Kazakhstan’s national champion Ilya Davidenok, who has been racing as a stagiaire with the WorldTour team, plus Artur Fedosseyev and Victor Okishev.
The team was facing five weeks on the sideline under MPCC rules, but instead have been put on hold by its backers. It is unclear if it will resume racing this season.
Asked if the MPCC’s regulations were restricting, Beucherie suggesteed that the greater good should be kept in mind.
“MPCC rules are not binding [restricting – ed]. Take a rider who trains every day. The day he does not want to train any more, it would be better for him to stop cycling. Cycling has to remain a pleasure. MPCC is not a pleasure, but it is not a constraint.
“Riders who are part of the MPCC member team know [the rules], that is their philosophy. Of course there are some frustrations. They would like all the riders to be tested on an equal footing.”
He said that the cortisol issue was an example of why the regulations sync well with what the competitors themselves should want.
“A rider who needs to take cortisone is a sick rider, so he must stop racing,” he said. “These 15 days out of competition for cortisone use will not ruin his season. There is no constraint whatsoever imposed on MPCC riders. Health has priority, and they know that.”