MILAN (VN) — Roger Legeay is back in the headlines, pushing teams to take a tougher stance on doping. In the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, his Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) has gained momentum.
“I’m 63 years old, I have my children and I’m retired, but I’m kept busy,” he told VeloNews. “I’m working quite hard with the MPCC because I think that after the Armstrong case it’s important and we need to get everyone ready to start 2013 with good rules and a good feeling.”
The Frenchman previously ran the Peugeot, Z, GAN and Crédit Agricole professional teams. When he was unable to continue Crédit Agricole’s sponsorship into 2009, he retired, but stayed on as president of the MPCC movement.
Legeay began the movement in 2007, in the wake of another doping scandal, Operación Puerto. It has been mostly a French club, but the numbers are growing to include Garmin-Sharp, FDJ, Ag2r La Mondiale and, joining last week, Lotto-Belisol. Second division teams Argos-Shimano, Cofidis, Europcar, NetApp and the new Swiss outfit IAM Cycling are also in the ranks.
Sports manager Marc Sergeant said when his Lotto team joined that it was “a sort of statement.” He added he wanted to help increase the number of top teams in the movement.
“I think the time for words should be over and that they should be transformed into actions,” Sergeant said.
Legeay helped the MPCC establish a standard of conduct, or golden rules, that bodies like the UCI are unable to put in place due to the World Anti-Doping Code.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has endorsed the movement’s standards, a move which may have helped Lotto in its decision to join, and may help sway more of the 18 first division teams.
“WADA has its rules and the UCI has to apply the rules. The team managers have the choice, though, to say no to doping and to the riders and staff who are involved with doping,” Legeay said. “This is the job of the team manager; it’s not the job of the UCI and WADA. The UCI has its rules [to punish] the rider if he acts [wrongly], but first it’s up to the team manager to have a good philosophy and apply the rules [as proposed by MPCC], and to say, ‘I don’t want doping in my team.'”
Legeay has sent several letters on the behalf of the MPCC. He asked the Association of Race Organizers (AIOCC) to support the movement’s philosophy as a way to enforce the standards.
“The organizers have the power to do that; it’s the same as the team managers. The WorldTour races have to take the 18 [first division] teams, ok, but they can decide which wildcard teams to invite,” said Legeay. “And all the organizers who put on non-WorldTour races can decide which teams they want, or say they don’t want a team to bring a certain rider. They have the power to do that.”
Legeay has approached other team representatives, including those of Orica-GreenEdge and Sky. He hopes that in the climate of Armstrong, manifestos and a newly proposed league, the MPCC’s standards will become more appealing. January 1, he said, is a chance to turn the page and start anew.
“Let’s put a white line on the road,” said Legeay. “We don’t have to think about the story before. I want them to join and to apply these strong rules heading forward.”
MPCC Standards of conduct:
- Prohibit a rider from racing after the positive result of the first analysis or “A” sample.
- Do not sign a rider who has had a ban of more than six months during the two years following his ban. An exception is given to whereabouts cases.
- If a rider needs corticosteroids (used for saddle sores and swelling), then pull him from competition for eight days.
- An internal control following a positive test within the team.
- If a team has more than one positive case from the past 12 months, withdraw it (the team) and assess the situation.