Cycling takes off because its anti-doping regulations prohibit infiltrations like Rafa Nadal's
Nadal slides his left foot during the Roland Garros final.
Nadal slides his left foot during the Roland Garros final.AFP7 via Europa Press (Europa Press)

When Rafa Nadal talks about the martyrdom of his left foot, the unfathomable pain that plagues him daily, and remembers how he had to infiltrate himself with an anesthetic product to play the last matches at Roland Garros, the world pities him, but not cycling, which screams cheating .

The day after their 14th triumph in Paris, several French cyclists, such as Thibaut Pinot and Guillaume Martin, lamented that what is permitted and encouraged by their leaders in tennis and other sports is prohibited in cycling, that the law not be the same for everyone. “If I had had a problem like Nadal’s, I would have had to withdraw from the competition, and the other cyclists too,” said Martin in L’Equipe. He thus recalled that cycling is the only sport that prohibits the direct treatment of injuries and pain with injections and needles. And to match sports, he did not ask for more mildness in the anti-doping regulations for cycling, but rather greater severity in tennis and other sports, such as football, athletics or basketball, in which injured athletes compete infiltrated with corticosteroids, analgesics or anesthetics. The difficulty of distinguishing the origin of corticosteroids or other prohibited products led to cycling by prohibiting injections that, by relieving pain, allow injuries to worsen.

And that same argument was repeated by the president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), Frenchman David Lappartient, who, responding to a question from EL PAÍS, declared himself “proud” of the anti-doping regulations of his sport. “I am not the one to judge the tennis federation, but cycling is the sport that goes the furthest in defending the health of its athletes and fair competition, without cheating,” Lappartient said during a seminar in which He presented the advances of his federation and the International Control Agency (ITA) in the fight against doping. “What is possible in tennis is not possible in cycling because we are stricter than anyone else.”

Lappartient took the opportunity to recall that cycling, the sport hardest hit by the doping problem and the one that was forced to invest the most to regain credibility, is the only one that prohibits the painkiller Tramadol in all its administration channels. “We will get the World Anti-Doping Agency to ban Tramadol in all sports,” he said, “but even if we don’t get it, we remain committed to banning it, even if we are the only ones. The credibility that has cost us 10 years to gain can be lost in a minute”.

The UCI president had the enthusiastic support of Benjamin Cohen, director general of the ITA, an independent body set up by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take over doping controls for all sports, albeit only for a fortnight. use their services. “I understand the resentment of the riders, but I commend the UCI for their zero tolerance,” Cohen said. “A key principle in the fight against doping is to harmonize the application of the law to all sports. That all sports and all athletes in the world respond to the same law. It would not be bad if tennis also asked the ITA to take care of its anti-doping controls”.

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