UCI approves no needle policy

It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling

It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling (Image credit: Daniel Simms)

The UCI Management Committee has approved an amendment to the UCI Regulations to prohibit and sanction the use of injections of medicines or any other substances without a clear medical need.

The UCI presented the proposal of the ‘No Needle Policy’ to professional team doctors on 4 March and has moved quickly to introduce the ban before the Giro d'Italia which starts in Turin on Saturday.

The UCI Regulations now prohibit injections that have the aim of artificially improving performance or helping recovery. It means riders can no longer inject vitamins, sugars, enzymes, amino acids or antioxidants to aid recovery. It is hoped the ban will contribute to the eradication of doping by greatly reducing the use of injections in cycling.

The UCI Regulations only allow injections when they are “medically justified based on latest recognized scientific knowledge and evidence based medicine.” And when there is no alternative treatment available.

Except when received during hospital treatment or clinical examination the injection must be reported immediately and in writing to the UCI doctor by the team doctor. In case of a local injection of glucocorticosteroids, which are subject to the Anti-Doping Rules and on the Prohibited List, the rider must rest and is prevented from competing for 48 hours.

A first offence of the new rule can result in a suspension from eight days to six months and/or a fine. A second offence within two years could lead to a suspension of at least six months or lifetime suspension and a fine of up to $200,000. If a violation occurs at a race, the whole team of the licence holder involved may be excluded from the race. Just the possession of objects used or fit for an injection is presumed to constitute evidence of a violation of the regulations.

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.