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Cycling is cleaner than rugby union and less corrupt than cricket, research finds

Joe Robinson
18 Jan 2019

MPCC research shows 12 sports with more doping cases than cycling although warns at lack of pattern

Cycling was one of the cleanest sports of 2018 with fewer incidents than rugby union, boxing and American Football, according to latest research. 

The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) compiled the number of doping and corruption cases across all major sports over the last 12 months to compare the findings. According to the results, 12 sports had more doping cases released within that period than cycling with some experiencing five times as many cases.

According to the MPCC, a group of professional cycling teams that adhere to stricter doping rules than those set by the World Anti-Doping Agency, cycling only had 17 doping cases released to the public in 2018.

This was a remarkable 81 cases fewer than track and field which came out on top with 98, 15 lower than baseball and 24 clear of weightlifting which ranked second and third respectively. 

Popular UK sports including rugby union (33) and boxing (20) also recorded more doping incidents than cycling in 2018 although football was less with just 16 incidents worldwide.

Of the 17 recorded cases in cycling, the stats show that 15 were committed by men and only two by women while 11 came from road cycling with four in MTB, one in BMX and one on the track. The MPCC also confirmed that six of the cases came from the UCI WorldTour or ProContinental ranks.

Cycling fans will also notice the sport was implicated in zero corruption cases in 2018, a stark contrast to the likes of football, cricket and athletics which battled high numbers.

Cricket was implicated in 34 corruption cases which is still considerably less than the 73 and 102 cases found in football and athletics respectively.

While on first glance these statistics may give cycling fans reason to be optimistic, the MPCC issued a word of warning with the figures and what they actually tell us.

'We reckon cycling fans will be glad to see that their sport is ranked quite low (13th) in this classification of doping and corruption cases, far behind American sports, but also athletics, football and rugby,' read the statement. 'They are right to feel so, but not completely, and we are going to explain why.

'It has been five years since we started to release this barometer, which only takes into account the cases that have been publicly revealed by the federations or the media. Among these cases, we only retain those concerning high-level or professional athletes.

'This five-year-long work could have enabled us to decipher trends. Unfortunately, we cannot really find any when it comes to cycling.'

It then continued to point out that doping figures while lower than 2017 are in fact higher than 2016 before praising the cycling for being implicated in no corruption cases last year.

The group then finished its statement by saying, 'The one actual trend we can identify is that cycling is getting further away from the top of our doping cases classification.

'Though, cycling fans must mitigate their satisfaction: this is not due to a drop in doping cases, but mainly caused by this new transparency granted by the federations.'

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