Your Tuesday Daily News Digest

by Neal Rogers

February 21, 2017

In today’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: 25 teams selected for Paris-Roubaix; Valverde reflects on achieving 100 career victories; Barry questioned use of Tramadol with team management during time riding at Sky; Contador to ride in support of Mollema at Abu Dhabi Tour; Van Garderen to lead BMC Racing Team at Abu Dhabi Tour; Bahrain-Merida with Bonifazio for sprints, Nibali for GC at Abu Dhabi Tour; Brisbane cyclist killed by 21-year-old motorist with provisional license; The man who lived on his bike, until his bike was stolen.

Barry questioned use of Tramadol with team management during time riding at Sky

by CyclingTips

In an interview with The Guardian published Sunday, former Canadian professional Michael Barry expanded on previous claims that Team Sky management provided painkillers and sleeping pills to its riders, describing the team’s “unethical” use of legal medication and pointing to a wider problem across cycling that places riders’ health at undue risk.

“The thing with doping is that there is a black and a white,” Barry said. ‘Did the team [Sky] cross into the black? No, in my opinion. They didn’t dope, but there is a grey area. The use of painkillers falls into that grey area. Tramadol falls into that grey area.

“I loved my time with the team, I had a great experience there. But, ethically, I really started questioning the use of the Tramadol, and the sleeping pills, especially when you see the younger riders using this stuff heavily. If we went into a medical clinic and just asked their GP, they probably wouldn’t give these out. And that is not ethical… It is a health issue. Taking care of athletes should be a team’s priority. Instead everyone involved has a ‘bias’ [agenda], from the mechanics to the team directeurs – everybody’s jobs are reliant on the athletes’ performances, so priorities are skewed, and people will do whatever they can to gain an edge, whether pharmaceutical or technological. But this wasn’t just a problem at Sky. It’s a problem for the sport in general.”

Barry, who rode for Sky from 2010 to 2012, also revealed that the following extract from his 2014 book ‘Shadows on the Road’ — where he admitted to having used Tramadol, and questioned whether it was responsible for more crashes in the peloton — describes an exchange with a Team Sky doctor.

“I asked if one doctor would ever give the pill [Tramadol] to a patient under similar circumstances in an office setting. He said no. I asked if he was concerned about what would happen if a rider crashed and it was found he had a drug in his body which normally came with a warning that it should not be consumed while operating a vehicle. He was silent. I asked how he would feel if insurance wouldn’t cover a rider who had crashed with the drug in his system. He was silent. I asked how he would feel if that rider died. Silence, again. I suggested that the team should maintain an inventory of the drugs given out at each race and pass it along to the doctor at the next race. To my knowledge, that was never done.”

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