A ‘no needle’ policy has been introduced by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) prior to the start of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday (May 7).

An amendment to the UCI’s regulations mean that it is be prohibited for riders to have any substance injected into their body by syringe unless there is a clear medical reason.

The move is aimed to make it difficult for riders to use syringes to inject banned performance enhancing substances, such as erythropoietin (EPO), and is designed to protect riders’ health.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the UCI stipulated that it has prohibited “injections of medicines or other substances, without a medical indication, that have the objective of artificially improving performance or recovery (vitamins, sugars, enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants, etc.).

“This measure is above all designed to protect the riders’ health and contribute to eradicating doping by restricting a practice that is all too often abused. By prohibiting injections and establishing associated sanctions, the UCI is seeking, in particular, to:

“Eliminate perfusion and injection without medical indication, as these represent an open door to doping,

“Encourage natural physical recovery by rejecting the principle of the automatic recourse to injections,

“Provide doctors with the means to resist pressure from riders or their entourages who seek unjustified treatment, in order to allow them to respect point 6.3 of the Olympic Movement Medical Code: ‘Athletes’ health care providers (…) must refrain from performing any intervention that is not medically indicated, even at the request of the athletes, their entourage or another health care provider’.”

If a rider or team doctor is found to have breached the new regulation then they will face sanctions from the UCI.

Team doctors were advised of the impending new regulation prior to the start of this year’s Paris-Nice in France, on March 4.

  • Jon

    I too am amazed by the negativity of these comments. What on earth could have caused such widespread disillusionment with the UCI and the continuing culture of doping on the continent?

    Come on chaps say something nice and let’s have no more of this shilly-shallying! So what if cycling’s most pretigious podia are persistently infested with dope cheats, denying honest athletes both glory and income, and the organisation responsible for keeping them clean receives donations from the aforementioned podium infesters? That’s just the way it works and we are fools to expect anything different.

    Well done the UCI – you may have assisted the horse to bolt but I salute your belated stable door shutting efforts. And bonus points for the shoe ban. We don’t want those Ozzie shoemakers getting uppity when there are honest French, Spanish and Italian manufacturers making perfectly good footwear.

  • Michael Mace

    Good comment Phil. Cheats should be banned for at least five years. Banning for life could probaly ensue legal action as has been stated before.
    Eurosport is brilliant!!!

  • ian bryant

    does no-one actually realise that drugs come in many more forms than just those that can be injected? if anyone thinks this is going to reduce doping they are clueless! it’s just another useless propaganda stunt by the UCI, trying to look good to the ‘public’ without actually getting at the heart of the issue. what’s more, where’s the harm in giving vitamins (or any other legitimate substance) by injection? ok, seeing a needle in someone might raise suspicion, but i think we’re all past the point of suspicion, or is the UCI still in some doubt….?

  • Richard

    What about spanish steak?

  • phil tregear

    the negativity of others comments amazes me.
    well done to the UCI for moving in the right direction on an extremely complex issue.

  • martin

    ban cheats not syringes

    ban them for life

    and ban all riders from countries whose governments protect cheats (spain…)

  • Ian Metcalfe

    Hooray!! Let the riders be tested at the start too. I hope the organisers of other major races are forced to do likewise.

  • Damp Squid

    Does that mean the souvenir value of one of Lance’s old ones goes up?

  • james stone

    So all teams were effectivly told two months ago, giving the cheats that time to find another way to cheat.

    Just test every rider before the race, and again after, if any abnormalities appear, BAN FOR LIFE, no 2/3 years crap.