Tour de France: What is tramadol, the illegal substance that led to Nairo Quintana's disqualification?
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Tour de France: What is tramadol, the illegal substance that led to Nairo Quintana’s disqualification?

Almost a month after it was frozen in Paris, the Tour de France 2022 rating has been turned upside down. Sixth overall, Nairo Quintana learned of his disqualification on Wednesday 17th August due to two positive tests for tramadol.

This substance is banned by the UCI “Analgesic that treats moderate pain. Stronger than dolipran but less than morphine. Cyclists used it because it hides the pain”explains sports doctor Thomas Simon.

Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana, July 23, 2022, during the 20th stage of the Tour de France.  (David Stockman/AFP)

This drug has many side effects. “In addition to being addictive to this opiate, it can cause hallucinations, concentration problems, dizziness and nausea. This poses a problem in the peloton as falls can turn off many riders”details Thomas Simon.

If tramadol was not one of the illegal substances listed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, it was banned by the UCI on 1 March 2019 in the face of the resurgence of falls, assuming it could be linked to taking the drug. On the other hand, the UCI insists in its press release:It does not constitute a violation of anti-doping rules“.

This is why the Colombian is not suspended, but simply lowered from the last Tour de France. He will be in good shape at the start of the Vuelta a Espana, which starts on Friday from Utrecht, in the Netherlands.

“It’s not like EPO or a doping substance. Tramadol doesn’t improve performance. It’s akin to offside for example, meaning it relieves pain. Some sports federations allow it. It’s banned by the UCI so cyclists don’t overstep their limits.”specific Thomas Simon

“Tramadol is a relaxing treatment. You cannot request a special authorization for therapeutic use on a sedative. This exemption is reserved for athletes with diabetes or asthma, for example,” Adds a sports trauma specialist.

According to him officially, Less than 5% of the participants took it during previous drug prohibition studies. Unofficially, its use has been very popular, assures Yoann Offredo. “Everyone was taking it, except for the teams that had committed themselves to Movement Credible Cycling (MPCC), which had already banned the substance, The former professional runner, who ran at a time when the substance has not yet been banned, testifies. I have never taken it, but among the Anglo-Saxons, in the formation of the sky for example, it was common.”

“Since it wasn’t banned by the UCI, doctors prescribed it. It helped reduce pain but made them all groggy. They took lots and lots of caffeine to counteract the side effects.”

Yuan Offredo, former cyclist

France info: Sports

So why did Quintana take this banned substance? “The starting point is pain”, to remember Dr. Thomas Simon. In a press release, the UCI explained that the two swollen samples were taken on July 8 and 13, after two main stages: upon reaching the Super Planche des Belles Filles (stage seven, where Quintana finished 15th), and at Col. De Granon (eleventh stage), where he finished behind Jonas Weinggaard, the day the Dane turned the round.

For his part, Nero Quintana denied any intentional use of the drug, according to him A press release posted on social networks. The Colombian says to himself:Surprised“and advertising”Study all options to ensure his defenseWith his attorney.


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