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Tramadol thread
« on: August 18, 2022, 18:57 »
Tramadol is not really doping - by the letters of the WADA law, but it is definetly darkside. The main reason it is banned is that it can make you dizzy, you can drive your bike like a drunk man. It endangers the rest of the peloton.

It is performance enhancing but probably more on a complex psychological level rather than simple and physically measureable effects, or bordering placebo. It reminds me of a friend who always thought he was stronger when hung over.

I´ll put it bluntly:
Now that #arkea Nairo Quintana has been disqualified for the use of Tramadol in the Tour this year, are there other riders in the peloton that have caught your eye manuevering their bike like a drunk driver?

For me: yes there are, at least 3, from the same team. The list includes influential riders, and I wonder if the time for an aggressive Tramadol testing programme coinciding with their absence was not random. Anyway - anti-doping rules need to be enforced, good catch from the UCI provided the verdict sticks after the appeal.

Not much sympathy for Quintana if nothing special comes up in the appeals case. He is old enough to know better, but maybe stupid enough to accept a treatment from a team doctor he shouldn´t have accepted. Arkea got some explaining to do.


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  • « Last Edit: August 18, 2022, 21:12 by t-72, Reason: caught myself: some typos »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Tramadol thread
    « Reply #1 on: August 19, 2022, 17:33 »
    Chris Horner just posted a video about Tramadol. Unsurprisingly, he just happened to have a bottle on hand for his presentation.

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  • t-72

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    Re: Tramadol thread
    « Reply #2 on: August 21, 2022, 12:00 »
    Chris Horner just posted a video about Tramadol....

    For those, that like me, don't have the time to watch all of this:   :angel

    Chris Horner's got a surprisingly good voice, and as any USAmerican to a poor social democrat comes out like a fullbred marketer when they are presenting. In my ears, he plays thew game of name-dropping very well. He's got some sense of rythm and very pointed percussive flow. With a bit of practice he might actually become one of the dominant hip-hop freestylers in the 50+ age bracket in the US.

    He also uses a few pages of marketing presentation to come to the point which is, simply, that some practical compromise between what is banned performance enhancing drugs and what are innocent medications you take in order to get to work and get the job done is necessary. He is implicitly suggesting to draw the line at what changes your and makes it a better performance machine for some time. He provides testimony that over time, such as several stages in a stage race, tramadol numbs down all parts the body and the effect is gradually worse performance over time. However, it is a painkiller and it might get pro cyclists to work a day when they otherwise would have to spend time in bed or on the sofa.

    This is possibly a fair point well made and to be honest, there are other sports where you see athelets patched up with various painkillers and endure-the pain-medical aid that where this have more impact than they in cycling, because in the end, road's cycling's long duration tend to expose the reasons why painkillers are needed for injuries. I don't think there are many cyclists that win with strong pains, but there has been numerous attempts to "get through it" and minimize losses, typically for injured GC riders for a few sprint stages to stay in the peloton and finish with the bunch. The ability to suffer such hardship and pain is often commented on and praised by for example the TV commentary. I am not sure if that is the right thing to do, as continuing a race after suffering pain can be damaging - long term - to the body, and the  fact is, I don't think we know what kind of painkillers they are on and how much they have been given. Until the Tramadol tests were introduced.

    Question yourself on these performances, some successful and others not:
    #sky Geraint Thomas 2013 riding most of the TdF with a broken pelvis
    #sky Christ Froome 2014 riding stage 5 of the TdF with a broken (something in his hand, clavicula?)
    #jumbo Primoz Roglic racing n stages of the TdF 2022 with 2 fractures in his back

    Cheating isn't the first word to cross your mind, is it?

    The examples are not randomly chosen but they are ones I remember of the top of my head, there are probably quite a few others which also could have been mentioned. However, my point is high performance (or failure) despite of pain - is probably achievable sometimes with the help of painkillers and other times maybe that isn't used. In any way it represents an override of natural signals from the body to get away from what is causing the pain and look for rest and recovery. This may be damaging to athletes.

    On top of that, and it doesn't seem like Horner recognizes that, some people react to Tramadol with loss of ability to reaction and loss of balance, like driving drunk. That is not needed in a tightly packed peloton, which is perfectly able to generate giant crashes and carnage on their own, even when 100% of the riders are sober. The dilemmas and gray zones of medical pain relief and suppression on a personal level is one thing:  endangering your own health taking risky decisions can in some situations be acceptable. Endangering others with your behavior is another thing. I think this is why Tramadol (and other similar medications) should be a concern in cycling, and I support the ban.

    To provide example of another sport where painkillers may be used, Norwegian alpine skiers have won both Olympic medals and world championships with broken <some bone> in their hands. The hand is a little more useful in downhill skiing compared to in cycling and it clearly sets them back not to have full function in the hand. (Compare with the Froome TdF example.) This is compensated with layers of duct tape and specially built gloves, basically integrating the pole grip with the pole as gripped into the glove instead of making the hand grip it through the glove. The hand is then taped around the pole grip. At best this is a 70% solution to a functioning hand. If painkillers were involved, I don't know but I would assume that at least in training with this "assembled " hand they might have been part of the parcel.

    However, completing 2-3 minutes of downhill /slalom skiing doesn't endanger others like a racing in a peloton in a 5 hour road race does. It is also such a mentally focused effort it may be possible to disregard the pain,  for the duration of the competition, in a much larger degree than for cycling road cycling. With even stronger demands for eye to body reaction and precise maneuvring than in cycling (think about it as time trial with lots of corners, partly on cobbles, in the rain) the handicap of medication that numbs down the body must also be larger in downhill skiing than in cycling, implying that there may also be an immediate performance loss related to the drug, which to some degree will balance the performance gains possible.

    However, because in downhill skiing negative side effects of Tramadol (&similar) has very little risk for others in the competition, the decision to use or not use can be more that of an individual dilemma. For the roadcycling peloton it is a question of collective safety and risk - and then a common standard must be agreed upon and enforced.

    It is not very often I say this: Bravo, UCI :cool
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