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 organisers, to agree on an action plan aimed at mitigating the risks to health and safety. the safety of the runners.

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.

Tramadol ban

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 in competition since March 2019 in cycling for medical reasons (risk of drowsiness and addiction), and not with the aim of improving performance.

Concussion protocol

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 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. 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 the team doctors as part of the standard prevention of respiratory infectious diseases,” the statement concludes.