After almost three years of tests, the UCI has authorised disc brakes for road and BMX racing from July 1. The sport’s governing body also announced its intention to ban the use of Tramadol in competition from 2019.
Pro teams were initially allowed to try out disc brakes in races towards the end of the 2015 season but it’s technically been a trial ever since – one that has at times been suspended.
The new ruling means they are fully approved and Point 1.3.025 of the UCI Regulations will be amended to that effect.
The UCI has also announced an in-competition ban on Tramadol and other analgesics from January 1, 2019.
The powerful painkiller has been blamed for a number of crashes and last year a House of Commons select committee said it would investigate use of the drug in professional cycling.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) recently reported that 4.4 per cent of cycling doping controls picked up more than 200ng/mL of Tramadol in 2017.
Teams operating under the Movement for Credible Cycling’s (MPCC) voluntary code of conduct do not let their riders use the substance in competition and the group has been campaigning to have it banned.
Last year, former Team Sky rider Josh Edmondson said Tramadol left him feeling “absolutely battered” and that withdrawing from it made him feel depressed.
“I felt like someone had thrown me down some stairs for a few days,” he said.
He added: "The dangerous thing about it is you don't know when you're coming to your limit. It's not a performance-enhancing drug, it doesn't make you any better, you're not getting any more from your body, you are just pushing yourself a bit harder.
"When you're young and you are facing some kind of depression and it might be linked to some sort of drug you are definitely in denial about what that problem is - I just saw it as the stress of doing that job and training hard. I wouldn't have ever acknowledged that Tramadol was doing that.
"It was a serious problem for me especially towards the end of 2014. I didn't leave the house for two months. It doesn't get much worse than that."
The UCI said: “Concerning Tramadol, this is a strong analgesic, associated with significant undesirable side-effects such as dizziness, loss of alertness, drowsiness, or physical dependency and risks of addiction to opioids.
“The UCI has therefore decided to commit to a move towards banning the use of Tramadol in competition for health reasons.”