Cycling News

Powerful new drug sparks alarm in pro cycling world

doping UCI

According to an article in Le Temps, Tapentadol, a painkiller administered for bone cancer, is causing many in pro cycling some concern, including the UCI and The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC).

Alex Baudin tests positive for Tramadol and is not banned, but team takes action

Le Temps’ report began by asking if a new drug might be behind some recent suspicious performances in cycling. The revelation on Tuesday by Le Temps caused concern and confusion within the cycling community, as the UCI announced its intention to investigate a previously unknown pharmaceutical substance called Tapentadol. This powerful painkiller is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) alongside fentanyl and methadone. Although the UCI has not publicly discussed the matter, it has successfully persuaded the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to add Tapentadol to its monitoring program starting January 1, with a potential ban under consideration.

UCI on high alert

On May 29, the UCI took further action by alerting rider, team, and organizer representatives during a Professional Cycling Council (PCC) meeting. According to the minutes obtained by Le Temps, the UCI expressed its concerns that Tapentadol could replace Tramadol, emphasizing that it is allegedly ten times more potent. MPCC president Roger Legeay confirmed to Le Temps that his organization has urged WADA to prohibit Tapentadol, in line with their long-standing position against Tramadol.  The drug is a centrally acting opioid analgesic developed for managing moderate to severe pain, combining mu-opioid receptor agonism with norepinephrine reuptake inhibition. Although it was approved in 2008, it has only recently been introduced to pro cycling.

Faster to ban than Tramadol

“It took us over twelve years to get Tramadol banned in cycling. This time, we hope that the authorities will be much quicker,” Legeay said. “Healthy athletes have no need to resort to the therapeutic products of this nature. Furthermore, it should be stressed that analgesics also reduce or eliminate pain, which is a performance-enhancing factor.”

Tramadol was a contentious issue in professional cycling due to its potential performance-enhancing effects and risk of abuse. Classified as an opioid, Tramadol can mask pain and allow cyclists to push beyond their natural limits, raising ethical and health concerns. The UCI banned its in-competition use in 2019 after studies linked it to increased risk of crashes and negative side…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…