The TUEs debate

TUEs have been subject to debate over the last few months. This process governed by the WADA rules authorises an injured or sick athlete to use a banned medication under certain conditions. These practices can easily be abused. Cycling has been involved in many arguments on this matter but also other sports, especially rugby.

 

Within the framework of MPCC regulation, "TUEs have to be validated by the physician of the team". The use of TUEs is limited to very special cases happening on an occasional basis: that's why the idea of exceptions is justified. Dr Maurizio Vicini, physician of the Androni Giocattoli team, witnesses: "TUEs have to come at the right moment, in a right way and from a serious professional". Cofidis' Dr Arthur Molique adds: "That stay very specialised medical problems for which a College of doctors should gather to state on. In the team, we haven't requested a single TUE in 3 or 4 years."

 

 

When you are dealing with a cortisone treatment, the MPCC makes the situation very clear: "It is mandatory for any rider who, due to his health condition, may need a cortison treatment given systemically - via oral, rectal, intramuscular or intraveinous administration - to be prescribed a sick leave and a competition leave for a minimum of 8 days. It is mandatory for such cortisone treatments given systemically as reminded above to be validated by the physician in charge of the team. Competition participation will resume, subject to a cortisol levels control yielding normal results. Corticoid infiltrations, which do not require TUE, will imperatively be validated by the physician in charge of the team, who will imperatively prescribe a minimum of 8 days of sick leave and competition leave, as well as a cortisol levels control. In case of unusually low cortisol levels, competition will resume after an additional 8-days rest minimum and back-to-normal cortisol levels."

 

Today the question arises whether making those TUEs public is relevant or not. Apart from the difficulties related to the principle of medical confidentiality, Dr Arthur Molique considers this doesn't answer the question of the legitimacy of TUEs allocations. "This is a bottomless pit", he says. At the MPCC, we have chosen to responsabilise the members on these issues. "This guideline works", Molique adds. It clarifies the rules of the game.

 

In a press release published in September 2016, Three-times Tour de France winner Christopher Froome stated: "It is clear that the TUE system is open to abuse (...) I believe that this is something that athletes need to take responsability for themselves, until more stringent protocols can be put in place." Some comments echo those of the members of our movement: Chris, feel free to join the MPCC!