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UCI institutes “No Needle Policy” in advance of Giro d’Italia

The UCI management committee on Wednesday approved a comprehensive ban on the use of syringes and other injection methods unless there is “a clear medical indication” to justify their use.

The UCI’s so-called “No Needle Policy” prohibits the injection of medications or other substances, including vitamins, sugars, enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants, unless there is clear medical necessity that goes beyond mere “recovery” or performance enhancement.

UCI rules already bar the use of rehydration by means of injection and the new policy expands the ban to include all forms of the practice, which the governing body says “is all too often abused.”

In a release issued Wednesday, the UCI noted that the idea gained ground following discussions among members of the UCI Medical Commission and was developed with the help of the International Federation of Rowing Associations (FISA).

The management committee approved the measure which adds the following language to its anti-doping regulations:
The injection of any substance to any site of a rider’s body is prohibited unless all of the following conditions are met:
1. The injection must be medically justified based on latest recognized scientific knowledge and evidence based medicine. Justification includes physical examination by a certified medical doctor and an appropriately documented diagnosis, medication and route of administration;
2. There is no alternative treatment without injection available;
3. The injection must respect the manufacturer-approved indication of the medication;
4. The injection must be administered by a certified medical professional;
5. Except when received during hospital treatment or clinical examination the injection must be reported immediately and in writing not later than 24 hours afterwards to the UCI Doctor ….

The UCI said it had a goal of developing and approving the new policy in advance of this year’s first grand tour, the Giro d’Italia, which begins on Saturday.

Violation of the policy would result in sanctions for the rider, team doctor or team.

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