The powerful pain killer drug has been the centre of controversy recently in the world of professional cycling. Elite cyclists have been using it for years, especially before and during the gruelling grand tours to help them “feel numb” to complete these punishing races however cycling chiefs and officials have stated they want it banned.
Tramadol is a narcotic and many other similar drugs such as Morphine and Oxycodone are banned by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) but in the recent list of banned substances by WADA Tramadol isn’t on the list.
It’s not the performance enhancing benefits cycling officials are worried about, but the potential side effects that include dizziness, tiredness, and even seizures. All of these may put hundreds of cyclists in danger.
The pro pelotons see a large amount of cyclists riding just inches apart at speeds between 20-35mph meaning one mistake can result in major crashes and injuries, something cycling officials and Nick Wojek, head of science and medicine at U.K. Anti-Doping argue.
Obvously if a rider is feeling dizzy or drowsy during the race they wont be fully concentrating on what’s happening around them and may be slower to react therefore increasing the likelihood of an accident.
We have seen more crashes than ever recently, some due to rider error, some due to weather/road conditions and some due to the traffic and motos in the races. All we know is far too many cyclists have been seriously injured and even killed due to crashes so anything that will reduce the risks of a crash is something we are in favour of.
Major concerns were raised when former Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke told the BBC this month that tramadol was “offered freely around” by British Cycling doctors at the 2012 world championships, something British Cycling have denied.
So far WADA appears reluctant to ban it as they argue it’s use for legitimate therapeutic purposes. WADA also insist for a substance to be banned it must meet two out of three criteria’s: 1. It enhances performance. 2. It presents a health risk. 3. It violates what they describe as “the spirit of sport.”
So for now it looks as though Tramadol will be staying off the banned substance list for a little longer although UK Anti-Doping and cycling officials will continue to call for it to be banned and we believe more talks have been held today about it’s use in cycling.