UCI President Brian Cookson has expressed his disappointment over the fact that Tramadol, an opioid pain medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain, is still not added to the list of banned substances of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Cookson added we are pretty clear that this is something that is being abused. The UCI President said it is years now and it goes back before his time. Cookson said his predecessors asked WADA to look at this and it has been on the watch list for all these times and further commented that they looked at it again this year and have concluded that there is still not sufficient evidence to put it on the banned list.

A UCI spokesman said the world governing body of cycling is pushing WADA to tackle the issue. The spokesman added the UCI in March 2011 formally requested that WADA consider adding Tramadol to the List of Prohibited Substances. The UCI spokesman said the UCI expressly reiterated its request in 2015 to WADA to include Tramadol on the Prohibited List and added we have this year again reiterated our request to have Tramadol banned in-competition. It was further remarked by the spokesman that we along with Cycling Anti-Doping Federation are currently lobbying to have Tramadol included on the Prohibited List.

In November last year, Cycling Anti-Doping Commission director Francesca Rossi had claimed there would be around 675 positive tests if Tramadol was added to the WADA banned list. Used as a painkiller, Tramadol has side effects including drowsiness, nausea, and dizziness and the substance has been blamed by many for crashes within the peloton.

In 2014 former pro Michael Barry acknowledged in his autobiography that Tramadol was used by riders when he was part of Team Sky. Barry added he frequently saw them being administered it prior to his retirement in 2012. Team Sky then urged the opioid to be added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list. The Team called for Tramadol to be outlawed so its use can be regulated using therapeutic use exemption certificates (TUEs). A Team Sky spokesperson had then remarked none of our riders should ride whilst using Tramadol and added Team Sky do not give it to riders whilst racing or training, either as a pre-emptive measure or to manage existing pain. The spokesman went on to add then that we believe that its side effects, such as dizziness and drowsiness, could cause issues for the safety of all riders and added we also feel that if a rider has the level of severe pain for its appropriate use they should not be riding.

Barry was a witness in the United States Anti-doping Agency investigation into the United States Postal Service team that resulted in the downfall of Lance Armstrong after which he confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs at the end of his career. Barry also admitted he made use of Tramadol to treat legitimate complaints but got worried he researched about the drug on the internet.

Last month, a WADA spokesman confirmed nothing will change for next season. The spokesman added Tramadol is on the monitoring program, on the watch list and also remarked it was there for 2015, and it is remaining there in 2016 and so it would not be on the prohibited list.

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