13th September 2017

UCI Presidential candidate calls for corticosteroid & tramadol ban

David Lappartient has said that he will implement a corticosteroid and tramadol ban if appointed as President of the International Cycling Union (UCI) when its electoral congress takes place on 21 September in Bergen, Norway. Lappartient would also implement Article 9 of the Movement for a Credible Cycling’s (MPCC) Regulations, which require teams to suspend cyclists with low cortisol levels for a minimum eight day period, into UCI Regulations.

The MPCC, headed by Roger Legeay, is a voluntary organisation designed to promote the idea of clean cycling based on transparency and responsibility. Seven of the 18 World Tour teams (38%) are currently members, as are 19 of the 22 Pro-Continental teams (86%). ‘I propose that the UCI establishes a rule banning any rider with an abnormally low cortisol level from racing’, wrote Lappartient in a 1 September letter to Legeay (PDF below).

‘Corticosteroids must be banned from competition and these substances should therefore fall under anti-doping rules’, continues Lappartient’s letter. ‘Tramadol must also be banned in cycling. We must continue to push for the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] to include tramadol and corticosteroids on the list of illegal products.’

All glucocorticoids are prohibited under section S9 of WADA’s Prohibited List ‘when administered by oral, intravenous, intramuscular, or rectal routes’. However, they are permitted in competition (IC) via other routes of administration, and out of competition (OOC). “The hope was that the detection method for routes of administration would be developed”, WADA’s Director General Olivier Niggli told the Tackling Doping in Sport conference in March. “That hasn’t happened. Only those who are being honest about what they have been doing get caught. Otherwise you always say it was a cream, and you get away with it.”

Tramadol, an opioid-based painkiller, currently does not feature on WADA’s Prohibited List, but was added to its Monitoring Programme in 2016. There have been claims that tramadol has been abused in cycling, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is understood to be investigating its use in sport. During 2015, two Australian rugby league players came close to death after overdosing on the painkiller.

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