Union Cycliste Internationale issues response to the UK parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee 'Combatting Doping in Sport' report

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Professional cycle sport’s global governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale, has said that it will consider making further changes to the controversial therapeutic use exemption (TUE) certificate system in the wake of the UK parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee ‘Combatting Doping in Sport’ report.

The Committee’s report published on Monday said that Team Sky had ‘crossed an ethical line’ by administering corticosteroid triamcinolone to Bradley Wiggins ahead of the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France and 2013 Giro d’Italia.

Wiggins had a TUE issued by the UCI for triamcinolone to treat allergies. Wiggins’s TUE was leaked by the Fancy Bears hacking group in September 2016, which also published the TUEs of several other cyclists and athletes involved in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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The UCI said in its statement responding to the Committee report: “The conclusions in the Report (insofar as cycling is concerned) support and reinforce the UCI’s concerns about the potential abuse of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs), in particular with respect to corticosteroids. As noted by the DCMS, these concerns were first raised in the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s report in 2015 and appear to remain an issue today.”

“As far as TUEs are concerned, the UCI reinforced its rules in 2014 to ensure that the UCI TUE Committee is composed of multiple independent experts in the fields of clinical, sports and exercise medicine and that a TUE can only be granted if there is unanimity amongst the three members of the TUE Committee Panel.

“Having said that, the UCI fully supports the DCMS’s conclusion that ‘the TUE system needs to be kept under permanent review’ and the UCI will continue to consider possible improvements that could be made to its TUE system.”

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The use of corticosteroids and powerful painkiller tramadol were highlighted in the Committee’s report, and the UCI says that it will continue to request that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) considers placing both on its list of banned substances. This is in line with a statement issued by UK Anti-Doping chief Nicole Sapstead on Monday, who said UKAD would also like to see corticosteroids and tramadol banned.

“The UCI also shares the DCMS’s concerns about the use of both corticosteroids and the painkiller Tramadol in cycling. As a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI is bound by the current Prohibited List, however the UCI has requested, and will continue to request, that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) take additional steps in relation to corticosteroids and Tramadol.

“This is a subject that is particularly important to the UCI’s President [David Lappartient], who will discuss the issue with the WADA President at their next meeting in April. In addition to this, WADA has set up a working group on the matter and the UCI, through the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), is in touch with this working group.”

Both Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins have issued statements refuting that they crossed an ethical line.