The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced this Wednesday that the Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana was sanctioned for violating the prohibition on the use of tramadol in competition established in the UCI Medical Regulations with the aim of protecting the safety and health of cyclists, in light of the secondary effects of this substance .
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What happened with Nairo?
The UCI reported that “the analysis of two dried blood samples provided by the cyclist on July 8 and 13 during the Tour de France 2022 revealed the presence of tramadol and its two main metabolites”.
According to the UCI Medical Rules, the rider is disqualified from the 2022 Tour de France. This decision may be appealed before the Sports Arbitration Court (CAS) within the next 10 days.
The UCI reports that during the 2022 Tour de France, a total of 120 dried blood samples were collected as part of the tramadol program.
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“Violations of the prohibition of the use of tramadol in competition are violations according to the UCI Medical Regulations. They do not constitute violations of the anti-doping rules. Because it is a first offense, Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas is not declared ineligible and therefore can participate in the competitions”.
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The UCI clarifies in its statement that it will not comment further on the matter.
Tramadol and its prohibition
Since March 1, 2019, the UCI has banned the use of tramadol in competition in all disciplines and categories to protect the health and safety of cyclists from the side effects of this substance.
The samples are collected by the International Testing Agency (ITA) using the Dried Blood Spots (DBS) reference method. Developed by the Swiss company DBS Systems, sampling kits are used to perform this minimally invasive test, which involves drawing a small amount of blood from the cyclist's fingertip.
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The analysis of the samples is carried out independently at the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Geneva, using a peer-review method to determine the presence or absence and the amount of tramadol and its two main metabolites. The results are then sent to the Center for Research and Expertise in Anti-Doping Sciences (RED) at the University of Lausanne for a final independent review.
The results are finally sent to the UCI Medical Director, who performs the management of results in accordance with the UCI Medical Rules.
The regulations regarding the prohibition of tramadol can be consulted here.
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