The University Camilo José Cela professor and researcher, Juan del Coso, has written an article for the website The Conversation , which describes the reasons why the International Cycling Union (ICU) has decided, from 1 March 2019, to ban the use of the drug called Tramadol for professional cyclists.
In his article, Juan del Coso explains that “this substance is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat pain, especially intense pain. Tramadol was designed in 1977 in Germany to produce a certain level of analgesia and quickly conquered the market for its potent effect. ” Due precisely to that analgesic effect, and that it allows elite athletes to alleviate the pain associated with high-performance sport, “professionals confessed a certain dependence on the substance”, the author discovers.
University Camilo José Cela, in collaboration with the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport, has analysed the samples received by the Doping Control Laboratory in Madrid to determine the incidence in the use of Tramadol. “The study determined that 65% of the samples containing Tramadol in the anti-doping tests belonged to cyclists, followed by triathletes (8.1%) and rowers (5.9%)”, concluded Juan del Coso.
Due to these results, and the possible dangerous consequences that this medication could have on cyclists, “it is easy to imagine the danger of speeding down the Tourmalet or Alpe D’Huez under the sedative effects of Tramadol”, argues the author. The ICU has banned Tramadol in any cycling competition, arguing that the use of this substance may pose greater risk of falling.
“This ban means that the International Cycling Union becomes the international federation making the greatest efforts to ensure its sport its clean and therefore should be congratulated. But a reduction in distances of races could also mean that athletes do not have to take opioids to maintain their performance”, concludes Juan del Coso in his article for The Conversation.