065 MOVEMENT FOR A CREDIBLE CYCLING: MPCC

The MPCC is a movement that has originated from cycling in 2007. With the main objective to promote the credibility of cycling. The main activity consists of improving the inky doping image that cycling has brought upon itself. The affiliated teams agree between themselves not to use drugs and shall take drastic measures. In doing so, they go far beyond the WADA protocol and regulations of the UCI. Whether this is a desirable development, is still questionable. Solidarity between the teams will not be better. It produces a clear separation between the connected and non – connected teams. Within the meaning of: ‘we are the good – ones and they are the bad – ones’.

But there are other concerns. Non – member teams feel blackmailed to become members anyway. It is much more convenient to be a member if a team wants to get a license as a World Tour team. Prior to the new season, each team is held against the light by a special committee of the UCI. An important element here is the ethical content of a team. Thus the attitude of the team towards doping and the active policy that leads a team to keep doping out. A cycling team which is not a MPCC member scores a minus. They do not want to jeopardize the license application. From my own experience I know that the assessment by the UCI special commission is a sham. Each team produces an ethical section which sounds like a bell and then, during the cycling season, does not act accordingly. Especially the last team where I worked was quite a mess under the leadership of the responsible manager.

A team that is not a MPCC member runs the risk of not being invited to the major races. This applies to a lesser extent for the World Tour teams. For teams in the lower regions membership is essential to qualify for a wildcard for the really interesting races. Christian Prudhomme, the boss of the Tour de France does not intend to give wild cards to teams who are not MPCC members. The organizers of other major races agreed. Thomas Voeckler spoke of the blackmail argument in the YouTube video that you can see later.
In response to the low cortisol levels for the Tour de France 2015 Marcel Wintels president of the Dutch National Cycling Federation stated: “The MPCC is a good initiative, but if the legislation does not apply for two bodies, it does not work. There should be a single authority, in my opinion the UCI. How well intended it may be, the MPCC will fail. “

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Under the rules of the MPCC a rider with low cortisol levels gets a start prohibition of eight days. However, this is not an obligation of the UCI. That is a clear statement of Wintels. I just do not understand he calls it nevertheless a good initiative.

The MPCC takes the seat of the WADA and the UCI. Thus they take possession of the problem of doping. You only can be against this. Leave it to the independent professionals from these organizations. And attack them with your wishes and ideas about a different approach to doping. Do not make your own rules.  Be aware of your place and position. Don’t overestimate yourself.

The above objections are hard enough but all that hassle with the MPCC also bothers me for other reasons. Just imagine working for an organization as a teacher at school, as a policeman in a police department or as a doctor in a hospital.. And at some point there will arise clubs of colleagues who completely differ from the existing regulations of your organization. You can, if you’re not a member of the club, join them with only one restriction: you have to comply with their new rules. If you do not do so you will get a penalty, which now can still be refused, but later is required. Take it or leave it so accept your penalty or get out of the organization. The management of the organization has no influence at all on the activities of this new club.  That’s about the policies advocated by the MPCC.

Another thorn in my flesh was the complete absence of a critical note in the press. Anyway,  I have not encountered it anywhere. This is another proof to me that when it comes to doping any new measure, how idiotic also, is accepted without objection. Blame the press that fails here.

That explains my irritation still not completely. It evokes the feeling of the boy in the class, the teacher’s pet, whenever you did a dirty trick, the tattletale would betray you to the master. Never straightforward, always sneaky. In cycling teams you will always find such a mole who is the spy of the paranoid manager. To make it even more clearly the feeling of conspiracy with the enemy such as the NSB in the World War 2.  Members of the NSB collaborated with the German occupying forces during World War 2. They betrayed their compatriots who helped Jews not to be caught by the Germans.

I go on for a while. The MPCC is only in favor of harder, longer and more severe penalties. So a purely repressive policy that cannot be effective.

A critical and constructive vision of the current doping policy is completely lacking. Nothing is reflected of the excellent Commission Report Anti-Doping Approach, led by the Dutch public prosecutor Winnie Sorgdrager.

Winnie Sorgdrager

The discrepancy with the civil law is obvious and undesirable. Some examples: If riders have served their punishment the MPCC teams are then not allowed to offer them a contract for two years. A whole team is excluded from races in case of two doping violations within one year, is the same as imposing a sanction on a whole street if there happens to live an active pedophile in their street.

What has encouraged me to write this article is the fact that I was stuck in the same team with Spekenbrink for three years. He joined as assistant of team manager Arend Scheppink. I know him as a coaxer you cannot rely on.  That is the reason; I understood very well that his team, read Spekenbrink himself, refused to participate the survey by the Truth Commission of the Dutch Cycling Federation in an attempt to make clear the past dark doping period. Spekenbrink was informed of everything that had happened concerning doping in our Skil Shimano team.  So the fact that doping was used and was sanctioned by the leadership of the team.

Even after I left the team, on my own initiative and not on the authority of Spekenbrink as he subsequently claimed several times, he certainly obscured one and probably two serious doping violations. Therefore, if someone after completing the truth survey should have been suspended it was Spekenbrink himself. And that precisely such a person takes the initiative to come up with such a club as the MPCC gives me creeps. The superlative of hypocrisy.

To get an impression what MPCC is fighting for the following list:

  • Making agreements between cycling teams to eradicate doping.
  • MPCC is stricter with regard to doping than WADA and the UCI
  • In favor of excluding riders from 2 to 4 years.
  • Support the ‘no needle policy’
  • Addressing cortisone use.
  • Exclude riders immediately after a positive A sample.
  • Suspended rider who has served sentences should not be contracted for two years by MPCC teams.
  • Riders are obliged to donate DNA.
  • Capture Contract that a positive rider must pay compensation to his own team or to the MPCC.
  • Teams must withdraw from all races in two positive doping cases within one year.
  • MPCC teams do not use tramadol.
  • Press WADA to put tramadol on the doping list.
Chris Horner,
George Benett
and Lars Boom all riders with low cortisol levels.

It is now 2016 and it is going in the right direction with the number of World Tour teams which are still members of the MPCC. A few years ago it seemed that it would not be long before all Pro Tour teams would be a member. Fortunately, it has become doomsday. After the recent exit of Orica – GreenEdge and Katoesja there are only seven teams left of a total of 18 ProTour Teams. A few years back I did not dare hope that my wish would be so quickly fulfilled.

Spekenbrink

In the YouTube movie Spekenbrink asks himself: ‘Can we judge teams which are not MPCC members? Spekenbrink answers that this is not the case; we cannot say: “If you are not part you are bad or you are dirty. That’s not ethical. That we should not do. “Spekenbrink basically means the opposite “those criminals have no place in our sport. Get the fuck out here. Rather today than tomorrow. “But what he thinks he does not say. And that is the result of media training. As a result thereof, do not say what you think and what you say is always right even if it is a lie.

Thomas Voeckler