Open letter dated 24 October: MPCC reacts to WADA's response

33 hours after sending an open letter to the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, The Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) has received a response by email. Here is our response to Sir Craig Reedie.


Dear Sir Craig Reedie,

Our Board would like to thank you for the lengthy response you granted us on such a short notice: this shows that MPCC is viewed as a major player of the fight against doping and thus deserves the full attention of WADA.

The movement acknowledges the content of your letter and does not content itself with it, despite the satisfaction you show about all of the topics we tackled.

On the topic of tramadol and corticoids

You state that “there is not currently any consensus among WADA’s Prohibited List Expert Group that tramadol meets the criteria for inclusion on the List” and that “the Expert Group will continue to evaluate this medication and class of drug as new studies become available”. Since 2013, MPCC member teams’ doctors committed themselves not to prescribe tramadol. In the meantime, the movement made multiple request to WADA to ban the use of this substance in competition. Year after year, tramadol has been put on the Monitoring Program without further action, a quick temporary fix for a long term issue.

MPCC expects some courage from WADA’s Expert Group as they need to make a final stand on whether or not tramadol should be banned. The use of this substance is a big concern for the cycling professionals, which are very well represented within MPCC. They are waiting for a decision on the use of tramadol: should it be banned or not, and if so, for what reasons?

You claim that you “are supportive” of the UCI’s initiative to control the use of tramadol in cycling, “primarily for health reasons”. If this requires a support from WADA, then it is a proof that there is a big issue linked to this substance. MPCC will not rest until it obtains a final decision on this issue that endangers the health of the riders, and deserves a faster and more efficient response than a mere monitoring that WADA “experts” recommend.

You add that you “continue to evaluate this medication and class of drug as new studies become available” and “maintain an ongoing dialogue with UCI and continue to make every effort to explore options for the UCI in this matter.”. MPCC, since it was created in 2007, calls for setting up regulations on corticoids. The support of the UCI towards this goal is a huge step forward that now needs to be followed by tangible measures. MPCC hopes that the “ongoing dialogue” between WADA and the UCI on this topic will speed up the process and not slow it down.

MPCC insists on how strong the concerns are for all the stakeholders in the world of cycling when it comes to the use of tramadol and corticoids. This issue, which involves both health and performance enhancement, is a key topic of the fight against doping, and extends way beyond cycling.

About the Puerto Case

You consider that the stance of the MPCC members, who account for more than half of the 1st and 2nd division pro cycling teams, “demonstrates an astonishing lack of knowledge and understanding of what has happened to date”.

MPCC only states the obvious when saying that the handling of this case had a huge negative impact in terms of image on the sport in general. MPCC wonders about the “lack of knowledge” WADA may suffer when it comes to cycling in particular and what this sport withstood since 2006 because of its inability end a “sorry episode”. This is not an episode, it has been going on for 12 years now.

MPCC does not understand that WADA, whose missions are very clear, states that it “has done everything possible (...) in a way that secures justice for clean athletes”. Does WADA really think that the clean athletes represented by MPCC, as well as all the other who are contracted to non-member teams, consider that justice has been done?

A response from you admitting that the handling of the Puerto case was not fully satisfying would have been way more representative of the terrible reality of this affair. Expressing satisfaction on this topic is not acceptable, and so is the fact that you dismissed MPCC’s arguments on the sole basis of a so-called “lack of knowledge” on the topic.

About Russia

MPCC respects the democratic nature of the decision that the Executive Committee took, considering that the decision to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was the result of a vote. Though, a very big contradiction lies when you claim that “WADA’s focus now is on finalising the process for accessing all the data from the Moscow laboratory, which is the missing piece of the puzzle, by the end of the year”. You are openly admitting that the puzzle is “incomplete”, yet accessing all the data should be a prerequisite to the reinstatement of RUSADA.

You are expecting the release of the data “by the end of the year”. If WADA fails to comply with this target, MPCC demands that WADA commit to what you wrote in your response to our open letter, meaning that you will make “RUSADA non-compliant again”. The end of the year comes in two months. The sporting world will very soon have a clear view on whether or not you can follow through on this commitment.

In addition, MPCC is glad to acknowledge that, on October 29th, the leaders of 18 National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) publicly condemned WADA’s decision to reinstate RUSADA. To these 18 National Anti-Doping Organisation, Sir Craig Reedie, dare you say that you remain “firmly of the view that it was the right decision for clean sport and that WADA is in a stronger position because of it”?

On the topic of the independence of WADA

MPCC takes note of your answers, but also raises that fact that you explain that “WADA launched last year a governance review process”. You specify that “among the proposals of the multi-stakeholder working group are that there should be more independent members on our Executive Committee and that the positions of President and Vice-President should also be independent along with a long list of other proposed measures”. You add “this process has clearly shown WADA’s willingness to adapt and that it wants to ensure it has the right governance structure in place to be fit for purpose in the years to come”.

This is the clear proof that the question of the independence of WADA is an important topic, otherwise such a working group would have no purpose. Thus, MPCC is legitimate to be concerned about whether or not WADA can demonstrate that it can act with full independence despite the nature of its funding.

The 18 National Anti-Doping Organisations involved in the press release of October 29th also took a stand on this topic. They openly expressed their support for the sport stakeholders who demand a complete overhaul of WADA, explaining that they want that “the President and the Vice-President of WADA not to have any affiliation with governments or international sports organisations, IOC included”

On the topic of Chris Froome’s abnormal control

Our movement will once again repeat what it said in his open letter of October 24th : “MPCC laments the way sanctions are not applied equally and procedures are not followed equally, which is devastating for the credibility of the sport, for WADA itself, and thus is devastating for the confidence which athletes ought to have in the world’s anti-doping agency and its independence and integrity.”

What is the threshold set by WADA's experts on tramadol regulation: 1000, 1600 or 2000 ng/mL?

This is about credibility and image. What we need here is to fulfil a crucial mission consisting of not feeding suspicions about a case in the center of the media attention.

The evocation of winning “a significant victory for clean cycling in securing enhanced bans for three of (our) sport’s most notorious cheats” on the day MPCC sent its open letter to WADA cannot be used as an argument to the problematic handling of Chris Froome’s abnormal control. These are two completely different matters. MPCC fails to understand why you deemed suitable to associate these two cases in your response to our open letter.

As a conclusion, MPCC asks WADA and you, Sir Craig Reedie, its President, multiple questions:


Most of the significant victories of the fight against doping since 1999, the year the World Anti-Doping Agency was created, came from police inquiries, journalistic investigations and testimonies from athletes.

Where would our sport stand had Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton not testified against the organized doping within the US Postal?

Where would our sport stand without Trevor Graham denunciations that allowed the reveal of the BALCO scandal?

Where would sport stand if, in 2006, the Spanish police had not set up a big operation against doping and picked up on the public accusation of Jesus Manzano, finally leading to Operation Puerto?

Where would our sport stand without the work of the German journalists on the state-sponsored doping case in Russia?

What would the records be? The primary purpose of WADA is to protect clean athletes.

 

Waiting for your answer, our Board convey to you, dear Sir Craig Reedie, President of WADA, our best regards.

 

Read MPCC's open letter to WADA
Read Sir Craig Reedie's response

 



510 members of the MPCC :

7 World Tour teams - 23 Pro-Continental Team - 9 Continental Teams - 6 UCI Women Team - 289 professional riders - 129 technical staff members - 6 sports agents - 9 National Federations - 9 organizers - 9 sponsors of cycling - 14 sympathizers.