Tramadol; Another doping suspension; Women’s ‘cross: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

The UCI’s move to ban Tramadol has been moved back to March and President David Lapparitent is looking to end the calendar clash between the Giro and Tour of California. Burgos-BH had a third rider test positive in the last 12 months and faces a possible season-long suspension. Also, women ‘cross riders are speaking out about race length. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Lappartient pushes back Tramadol ban

Earlier this year, the UCI made the bold step of moving to ban Tramadol from cycling. The drug was supposed to be banned starting on January 1, but in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport UCI President David Lappartient revealed the ban won’t start until March 1. This comes right as the spring classic season ramps up.

UCI President David Lappartient.

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid painkiller and is widely suspected to be abused in the pro peloton. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revealed 2017 drug test data in June that showed more than 4% of all tests conducted in competition were positive for Tramadol. Many have called for the drug to be banned though WADA continues to keep Tramadol on its Monitoring Programme.

Lappartient explained the drug will be banned under the UCI’s medical code, which allows the governing body to bypass WADA code. Side effects from Tramadol include nausea and unsteadiness. “A Tramadol test is simple. We take a drop of blood from a finger of a rider before or after a race,” Lappartient said. “If the rider is caught with Tramadol, he will not be allowed to take part in the race or be removed from the results of the race afterwards.”

The UCI President also indicated in the interview the calendar clash between the Tour of California and Giro d’Italia would be resolved. He explained that in 2020 the Tour of California would be pushed to the beginning of May, running May 3-9. While the Giro would be pushed back to run May 16-June 7. It’s unclear how this would affect the Tour de France, which typically starts the opening week of July.

Tramadol can be taken orally in tablet form.

The Beauty of Cycling

In partnership with Scott, take a ride through the gorgeous Swiss Alps and find a climb that is one of the many hidden gems in the mountain range. Check out the video below and read the full story here.

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Merino handed four-year ban, Burgos-BH future in doubt

Spaniard Igor Merino was quietly handed a four-year ban by the UCI last week from an out-of-competition positive test for growth hormone in June. The ban puts the future of the Burgos-BH team in doubt, as it is the Pro Continental program’s third positive in a 12-month span.

David Belda received a four-year ban for EPO earlier this year, then Ibai Salas was also banned for four years, but for irregularities in his biological passport. These two bans prompted the UCI to trigger the application of article 7.12.1, which calls for the suspension of a team from 15 days to 45 days if two doping violations occur in a 12-month span. However, rule 7.12.3 allows for the UCI to ban a team for a period of up to 12 months and no less than 15 days if a third doping violation occurs within the 12-month period of the previous two violations.

Women cyclocross stars call for changes after shortened races

Two-time world cyclocross champion Sanne Cant (IKO-Beobank) called out the UCI for not following its own rules after the elite women’s race at the DVV Trophy Flandriencross was 39 minutes. UCI rules state elite women’s events must be between 40 and 50 minutes. This highlights the inequality between the elite men and elite women, as men’s races are 60 minutes long.

While the UCI has worked to bring equal prize money to the discipline of cyclocross, race length has long been a disparity. There has been increased debate in the last few years to make the elite races an equal 50 minutes long.

Sanne Cant (IKO-Beobank) claimed her first win of the season at the Soudal Jaarmarktcross in Niel, Belgium on November 10. Photo: Kristof Ramon

Furthermore, elite women’s cyclocross events are usually more entertaining than the elite men’s race. This year many of the women’s events have come down to the last lap to decide the winner, creating suspense and drama. Mathieu van der Poel’s dominance has dulled many of the elite men’s races from an entertainment perspective. Though there are tight battles for the podium and minor top 10 placings, the majority of the time van der Poel has a substantial lead after just a few laps.

Viviani wants to win Sanremo in 2019

Elia Viviani’s (Deceninck-Quick Step) success in 2018 seems to never end. The Italian was victorious at the famous Ghent Six track event last week along with teammate Iljo Keisse. After 19 wins on the road in 2018, including seven grand tour victories and the Italian road championships, Viviani wants to win a big one-day race. He’s particularly looking at Milano-Sanremo.

“Every year I push my limit. I reached my goal at the Olympic Games, now I am dreaming of big races on the road,” Viviani told Sporza. “I was close to Gent-Wevelgem, Milan-Sanremo is also on my wish list.”

“Sanremo is a peculiar course. You can feel great and yet it can end suddenly at 10 kilometres from the end. It happened to me this year. I was ready to sprint for second place. On the Via Roma I went on my pedals and suddenly I had nothing more in the tank, not abnormal after nearly 300 kilometres.”

Hayman to become a journalist?

2016 Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman will ride the final race of his career at the Santos Tour Down Under in January. While he has yet to announce his future plans (he’s said he wants to be involved in cycling in some way) he may have a future as a journalist. The 20-year veteran borrowed Eurosport reporter Aaron Lee’s microphone to interview former Team Sky teammate Geraint Thomas at the Shanghai Criterium.

E3 Harelbeke becomes E3 BinckBank Classic

The WorldTour-level E3 Harelbeke unveiled its 2019 parcours and along with it a name change. BinckBank, a Dutch online discount broker, has stepped in to become the naming partner of the race.

This is the fourth name change for the race since it started in 1958. It was previously known as Harelbeke–Antwerp–Harelbeke before becoming E3-Prijs Vlaanderen and then E3 Harelbeke. E3 comes from the highway that connects Antwerp and Kortrijk. Although the road has since been renamed E17, the race’s name has stuck.

Tom Boonen holds the record for the most wins with five. The 2019 edition takes place on Friday, March 29th.

’Gram of the day

Lance Armstrong and Onnit, a fitness brand, created a Black Friday ad in support of testicular cancer. Onnit will be matching every dollar donated with a purchase on Black Friday to help fight testicular cancer.

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UAE Team Emirates training camp

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