The UCI proposes a protocol against excessive heat to protect cyclists

In 2024, the International Cycling Union (UCI) will implement new protocols to safeguard the health of cyclists in extreme heat, including a ban on tramadol, improved guidelines on concussion and COVID-19, and measures for safer racing conditions

Tour de France stage

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Leer en español: La UCI propone un protocolo ante el excesivo calor para proteger a los ciclistas

In the 2024 season, the International Cycling Union (UCI) will include a new protocol in the event of intense heat to protect the health of riders, and will also add tramadol to the list of prohibited substances and other courses of action for cases of concussions and of Covid-19.

The heat protocol covers all adverse weather situations, and not just those related to extreme heat. Taking into account the climatic changes that the world has been facing for several years, the UCI wants to better define the optimal conditions for organizing road competitions in hot climates, with a new protocol "in case of intense heat", according to a statement from the UCI. ICU.

In cases of excessive heat, the president of the College of Stewards will convene a working group with representatives of the UCI, the teams, the riders, and the organizers, to agree on an action plan aimed at mitigating the risks to health and safety. the safety of the runners.

Presentation of the Protocol and Pending Approval

The new protocol includes recommendations such as moving the starting areas to shaded areas, providing the teams with cold drinks and crushed ice during the race, increasing the number of motorcycles that refuel, changing the starting time, or neutralizing sections of the race.

UCI Medical Director Professor Xavier Bigard presented the protocol to cycling stakeholders at the UCI Women's WorldTour and the UCI WorldTour Seminar in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week, and it will be presented for approval to the managing committee. of the UCI at its next meeting, which will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, from January 31 to February 2, 2024.

The UCI also recalls in its statement that the UCI Tramadol Program will end on December 31, 2023, due to the introduction of the ban on this substance in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as of January 1, 2024.

Therefore, the presence of tramadol in the body of the runners will be investigated within the framework of the anti-doping program implemented in cycling by the International Testing Agency (ITA). It should be remembered that this substance has been banned from competition since March 2019 in cycling for medical reasons (risk of drowsiness and addiction), and not to improve performance.

The UCI also reminds us of the importance of the concussion protocol.

"Concussions are brain injuries that must be detected, diagnosed, and treated to ensure full recovery of the affected brain functions. If there was already a protocol validated by international scientific organizations for the rapid diagnosis of concussion, the UCI has adapted and transposed this protocol so that it responds to the specificities of the different cycling disciplines, including road cycling.

To do this, the UCI has developed recognition tools, available to everyone through a simple QR code. It is mandatory to report any case of concussion to the UCI Medical Department and declare any return to competition of the rider in question, using the documents available on the UCI website.

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Regarding COVID-19, the use of a mask, hand hygiene, and ventilation of closed spaces remain relevant for the ICU.

"People who test positive are no longer required to isolate, but the continuation of barrier protection remains essential. These measures are the responsibility of team doctors as part of standard prevention of respiratory infectious diseases," the statement concludes.

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