Posted 1 years ago

Cycling General

Tramadol, the newest opioid banned in pro-cycling

Tramadol, the newest opioid banned in pro-cycling
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The ban on Tramadol, a powerful painkiller in use from the 90s, by the Union CyclisteInternationale (UCI) , has resulted among other things, in the stripping of the Tour De France results of pro-cyclist, Nairo Quintana.

However, this will not be viewed as a breach of anti-doping rules, as Tramadol is listed under UCI’s medical regulations, and not it’s anti-doping programme.Any subsequent lapses could result in his suspension though.

 The regulations surrounding Tramadol remain controversial as it is currently not banned by World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).The strong painkiller is effective in treating intermediate pain levels, while also known to reduce pain in the legs, and induce drowsiness. It’s potential performance enhancing properties resulted in it being placed on the Monitored List in 2012 (a list which also includes caffeine and nicotine).

It came into more prominent public attention during investigations into doping allegations of Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service Team. This was followed by confessions of several pro-cyclists regarding the administration of Tramadol, including Team Sky members Michael Barry and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke.

 The banning of Tramadol was largely due to efforts of the movement for credible cycling (MPCC), which has a set of regulations that cyclists can volunteer to follow, and which has advocated for a total ban on the substance. Finally, a 2017 report by WADA, highlighting the widespread use of Tramadol prompted UCI to impose it’s current ban.

 Currently, the use of Tramadol is  prohibited as a medical regulation, and not as an anti-doping requirement. Hence, riders who test positive are disqualified from a race, and stripped of all associated awards and points. However, a first time offence does not constitute a suspension, but a second time offence results in a ban for 5 months. There are sanctions for teams too, which include a monetary penalty.

 For the time being, Quintana is only disqualified from the Tour De France, and is on track to race for the Vuelta De Espana, which kicks off on Friday.

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