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Any athlete receiving an injection of glucocorticosteroids will now be forbidden from competition for eight days following treatment, according to the revised No Needle Policy regulations put forth by the UCI. The former 48-hour period has been extended after UCI president Pat McQuaid requested an amendment to the rule.
The No Needle Policy was enacted shortly before the 2011 Giro d'Italia and prohibits any injection that is not "medically justified based on latest recognized scientific knowledge and evidence based medicine". The ruling has meant riders and teams have not been able to utilise this method to reduce recovery times or improve performance. This includes the injection of vitamins, sugars, enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants.
"At its meeting in Louisville (USA) at the beginning of the month, the UCI Management Committee approved a change to the UCI No Needle Policy, forbidding an athlete to compete within eight days of receiving a local injection of glucocorticosteroids," read a statement on the UCI site.
"The UCI must be informed by the doctor applying such an injection. The No Needle Policy, introduced by the UCI to its Medical Regulations in 2011, originally stipulated that a rider must not compete for 48 hours after a local injection of glucocorticosteroids."
"A rider who raced at the weekend could receive an injection of glucocorticosteroids and be racing again in a mid-week competition," said McQuaid. "Glucocorticosteroids are used to treat inflammations, so a rider requiring this treatment should not be racing within eight days. He or she should be attending his/her condition and resting."
The Garmin Sharp team had actually introduced its own team policy in 2010 which forbid the use of any injection or infusion of any kind, with the UCI's later ruling looking to rid the entire sport's use of needles.
The meeting in Louisville approved one final change to the Policy that "athletes no longer need to report injections for vaccination purposes, for example for the flu". The current regulations apply to all UCI license holders.