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So after all the furore around Salbutamol; which, when taken via an inhaler, offers no performance enhancement (http://www.cyclist.co.uk/news/4053/salbutamol-can-be-performance-enhanci...) and all the accusations of "cheat" and "doper", I'm curious why no-one has mentioned the drug that ALL pro cyclists are on that is very well proven to be massively performance enhancing.

Caffeine.

Given that caffeine is so potent, why isn't it banned and why do "we" not consider taking caffeine as cheating?

I know the UCI has a limit on caffeine, 12micrograms per ml urine, but when it is proven to be performance enhancing why is it not more strictly controlled (just like other performance enhancers) yet drugs like Salbutamol (with no known performance benefits) are controlled far more tightly.

I'm not calling for caffeine to be banned (or even controlled more), I'm just confused why "we" accept some performance enhancers, yet reject other substances as cheating (even if they offer no benefits).

19 comments

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VeloUSA [264 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Try sending this to UCI reportdoping [at] cadf.ch. It is monitored by staff of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI to plan and carry out anti-doping activities in cycling. Interesting to see if they reply back to you with facts, gibberish, or ignore your mail.

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vonhelmet [956 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world. Everyone takes it everywhere in the world. Yes, it’s performance enhancing, but it’s so baked into everyday life as to be utterly meaningless. You may as well try to ban food and drink and make the riders cope on whatever food they can consume before the race starts.

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BehindTheBikesheds [2136 posts] 1 month ago
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I seem to recall an athlete in the 70s being stripped of an Olympic medal and also sprinter Inga/er Miller in the late 90s for caffeine 'doping', also I'm sure there was a case of excessive caffeine at a winter olympics but that might have been passive smoking of marajuana, same but different ;o)

It should be controlled far more IMO, caffeine that is.

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don simon [2412 posts] 1 month ago
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I imagine the simple reason is that Salbutamol does enhance performance (yes it does). It says so in the article you linked to (yes it does).

The problem we have is that a test result cannot be worked backward into an ingested quantity, nor can it determine how the drug was ingested. 

I guess the coffee tests are a lot more straightforward.

 

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madcarew [749 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

When I started racing in the late 80's caffeine was 'banned', and 2 cans of coke was enough to get you a positive.  This was changed ( I think) because of the relatively limited effect of caffeine.

"very well proven to be massively performance enhancing" I think you'd have to qualify or quantify the statement.  

Both substances have a limit to their use (which kind of  negates your query, neither is accepted in performance enhancing quantities.) Incidentally the reason salbutamol is controlled is because it is necessary for some people, but is a likely PED if taken orally or intravenously, hence the limit placed on it. As a steroid the effect of salbutamol if taken by illegitimate routes is potentially considerably more poten than caffeine. 

To get an effect (approx .5 - .8% increase in exhaustion time in 1 hr TT) a minimum of 2 mg / kg (for a 75 kg rider = 150 mg of caffeine - about  1/2 litre of cappucino / latte) is needed. This is not a massive enhancement. The limit is set at about 3 times this amount at which point you may be seeing increased muscle recruitment making  high intensity endurance efforts more effective. 

To break the limit an individual (according to WADA's own research) would have to knowingly consumed a very large amount of caffeine prior to exercise, so it means it is  a concerted attempt to take something to enhance performance ( which is against the rules, regardless of the status of the substance).  Caffeine is in so many substances in our diet that a limit like that for clenbuterol (trace) would see every rider out, so they set a limit that is outside of most performance enhancing effects, but enables the athletes a limit for normal use. Just like salbutamol.

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hawkinspeter [2144 posts] 1 month ago
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I think the main reason for banning certain drugs is that they aren't considered 'safe'. A safe drug (e.g. caffeine) can be used by almost all athletes without side effects so it's not a problem whereas steroids can often cause damage to organs if taken for too long a time, so a ban is supposed to protect the athletes that don't want to damage their health but also want to compete effectively.

Also, there's the issue that caffeine is so widespread that it's tricky for people to avoid it just for a race when they'd be consuming it every other day of their lives.

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Yorkshire wallet [2129 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Silly question but are riders allowed any alcohol in their system?

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rjfrussell [485 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Food is performance enhancing.  So is sleep.  And training, apparently.  The rules ban way too much.  Only substances that have a seriously deleterious effect on medium or long term health should be banned.

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Yorkshire wallet [2129 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
rjfrussell wrote:

Food is performance enhancing.  So is sleep.  And training, apparently.  The rules ban way too much.  Only substances that have a seriously deleterious effect on medium or long term health should be banned.

Bacon?

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Rich_cb [793 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Some studies show a performance enhancement from taking Salbutamol, most don't.

The science is pretty inconclusive right now.

Given the potentially fatal consequences of an asthmatic rider not taking enough Salbutamol, the unreliability of the urine test and the lack of conclusive evidence for performance enhancement it makes far more sense to treat Salbutamol in much the same way as caffeine and raise the threshold for an AAF considerably.

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Canyon48 [1032 posts] 1 month ago
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VeloUSA wrote:

Try sending this to UCI reportdoping [at] cadf.ch. It is monitored by staff of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI to plan and carry out anti-doping activities in cycling. Interesting to see if they reply back to you with facts, gibberish, or ignore your mail.

I'll give it a go!

I'm just quite curious (and to be frank, confused) about the rules surrounding some drugs.

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alansmurphy [1851 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

You want to ban the coffee stop - be gone from here!

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TheLonelyOne [375 posts] 1 month ago
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Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Silly question but are riders allowed any alcohol in their system?

The answer to your question would seem to be "Yes".

WADA removed alcohol from the list of Prohibited substances 1st Jan 2018, delegating the subject to the International Federations.

https://www.wada-ama.org/en/questions-answers/prohibited-list-qa#item-1420

 

That said, the only reference to alcohol I can find in the UCI regs is in relation to drivers:

2.2.038 Drivers (of both cars and motor cycles) must respect the relevant provisions of the Highway Code applicable in the country in which the event is being run and in particular they shall: - ensure that their vehicle is in good condition and roadworthy; - ensure that they are fit to drive and not impaired in any way, for example by fatigue or the consumption of alcohol, drugs, medication or any other substances that may influence driving skills.

...and that you can't promote any alcoholic beverage stronger than 15%.

 

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Simon E [3349 posts] 1 month ago
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I have been using* this drug daily for the whole time I've been racing and I'm still rubbish.

I have a double-dose (150mg) caffeine gel in my bag, still hesitant about actually using it...

 

* 2 or 3 large mugs of ground coffee.

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hawkinspeter [2144 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:

I have been using* this drug daily for the whole time I've been racing and I'm still rubbish.

I have a double-dose (150mg) caffeine gel in my bag, still hesitant about actually using it...

 

* 2 or 3 large mugs of ground coffee.

I'd recommend adding some hot water, brew for a bit and then filter out the grounds. (You can add milk and sugar to taste, but you'd be wrong).

 

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Natrix [45 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Apparantly some riders used to slip in a caffeine suppository on the approach to the final sprint..............

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vonhelmet [956 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Natrix wrote:

Apparantly some riders used to slip in a caffeine suppository on the approach to the final sprint..............

I imagine you’d have more luck trying to slip it up your team mate on the approach and letting the surprise do the rest.

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Canyon48 [1032 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

You want to ban the coffee stop - be gone from here!

No chance, what'd be the point of cycling then! Just wondering about UCI rules 

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Canyon48 [1032 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

You want to ban the coffee stop - be gone from here!

No chance, what'd be the point of cycling then! Just wondering about UCI rules