Dope testers will start screening for the painkiller tramadol in January 2019, International Cycling Union President David Lappartient announced on Saturday. Tramadol, an opiate, is not yet on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list, but cycling will start imposing bans from 2019.
“We tried to get WADA on board to get a second test specifically for tramadol, but there has been no real will on their part to do so,” Lappartient said on Saturday.
“So we are taking it forward on our own and have found a finger pin-pick test that detects the presence, or not, of tramadol and its level of concentration” he said.
“Two-thirds of the tramadol detected in tests of athletes is found in cyclists,” he said. “And five percent of cyclists tested show positive results for it. Tramadol is a problem in cycling, we needed to do something about it.”
The medication tramadol is comparable to codeine in that it has around ten percent the power of the painkiller morphine.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini