Team Sky have denied a former rider's claim that they use controversial painkiller Tramadol in both training and races.
The statement comes in the wake of an admission made by Michael Barry, the former Sky cyclist, that he used Tramadol in 2010 while riding for the British outfit.
He also claimed that he witnessed other Sky riders using it in races, writes Cyclingweekly.
“Tramadol made me feel euphoric, but it’s also hard to focus. It kills the pain in your legs, and you can push really hard,” Barry told The Times.
Lotto – Belisol team doctor, Jan Mathieu claimed earlier this month that the painkiller, which he said are widely used, has played a part in the many crashes that have happened in the spring classics this season.
Being an opioid, one of its side-effects is drowsiness which can lower the concentration levels of the riders using it.
“None of our riders should ride whilst using Tramadol — that’s the policy of this team,” said Sky in a statement. “Team Sky do not give it to riders whilst racing or training, either as a pre-emptive measure or to manage existing pain.
“We believe that its side effects, such as dizziness and drowsiness, could cause issues for the safety of all riders. We also feel that if a rider has the level of severe pain for its appropriate use they should not be riding.”
Although the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is monitoring the use of Tramadol in cycling, the painkiller is not currently a banned substance but the teams that have signed up for the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) do not use the drug.
Among the teams that have not signed up for the MPCC are Sky, BMC and Omega Pharma – QuickStep.
Sky's statement that they have not administered Tramadol for the last two seasons does not contradict Barry's claim that he used the painkiller during 2010.
The British outfit stated that they would like the drug to be added to WADA's list of controlled substances and that it should require a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) certificate to use Tramadol.
A month after retiring from professional cycling in 2012, Barry confessed that he had used EPO, the banned blood booster, as well as testosterone from 2003 to 2006 during his time as Lance Armstrong's teammate on the US Postal team.
Barry also told the New York Times that he had been clean throughout his time with Team Sky from 2010 to 2012, but said that far too many riders had to rely on permitted but extremely strong sleeping pills and painkiller to tolerate the tough races and lifestyle.
According the Barry, team doctors hand out the drugs without taking into account the potential long-term effects.
Barry was suspended for six months up until March 2013 as a result of his confession to doping.
Barry's claim comes while Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is the subject of a disciplinary procedure for biological passport anomalies concerning a period before he joined the team.
Additionally, Sergio Henao was withdrawn from competition by Sky in March after doubts were raised by the team's own out-of-competition control tests.
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