The UCI has announced that all requests for therapeutic use exemptions will now pass through a TUE committee in the wake of the controversy surrounding the exemption given to Chris Froome at this year’s Tour de Romandie.
In a statement released to Reuters, the UCI also confirmed that it is reviewing its procedures regarding TUEs and said that a revised set of rules would come into force from January 2015.
“A completely revised set of rules is in preparation and will enter into force on January 1, 2015 in conjunction with the revised 2015 WADA code and international standards, including the international standard for therapeutic use exemptions (ISTUE),” the statement read.
“As an immediate measure, the UCI confirms that from now on, all TUE decisions will pass through the TUE committee.”
The WADA code states that requests for TUEs are to be considered by a committee that “should include at least three physicians with experience in the care and treatment of athletes and a sound knowledge of clinical, sports and exercise medicine.”
However, French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche reported last week that UCI scientific adviser Dr. Mario Zorzoli did not consult with a TUE committee before approving Chris Froome’s request for an exemption to use the glucocorticosteroid prednisolone during the Tour de Romandie.
Froome, who had missed Liège-Bastogne-Liège the previous weekend due to a chest infection, proceeded to win the Tour de Romandie for the second successive season.
The UCI has insisted that Zorzoli had the authority to act alone in dispensing therapeutic use exemptions in “exceptional circumstances” and has denied that Froome was given preferential treatment.
“It is important to note that in connection with the TUE granted to Chris Froome, as confirmed by WADA, any rider in the same situation with comparable supporting medical evidence would have been given an authorisation to take similar oral treatment,” the UCI said.
Le Journal du Dimanche reported this past weekend that WADA had outlined its concerns to the UCI regarding flaws in its TUE dispensation process. On Tuesday morning, UCI president Brian Cookson used social networking site Twitter to add his own comments to the governing body’s statement on the matter.
“Nobody cheated, nobody lied, nobody got exceptional treatment,” Cookson wrote. “Procedures in place were followed, [and] WADA confirmed TUE was in order. Nevertheless, to avoid similar controversies in the future, to reassure the fans, to continue the process of restoring the damaged image [of] the sport, and to help protect everyone involved, those procedures will immediately be strengthened.
“And longer term, UCI will work with WADA to review the whole situation of TUEs in cycling.”