Option backdating why the fuss and how to avoid it
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In April 2016, Simon Yates was banned after testing positive for terbutaline, a less potent asthma drug but one for which his team had failed to obtain the necessary TUE.All of which poses the question: what’s the deal with asthma and cyclists?
“It’s difficult to say because no studies have been done,” Dickinson says, emphasising that the principal goal of asthma treatment is prevention, not performance.We can quantify the severity, and make them more aware of the causes.” There is a widely held suspicion that athletes get themselves diagnosed as asthmatic in order to access medications that will boost their performance, i.e. Dickinson dismisses this theory as illogical and unfounded.“We know that therapeutic doses of inhalers don’t touch performance, so if you’re a non-asthmatic taking a couple of puffs of salbutamol, it’s not going to do anything for you.“Endurance- wise, there is no advantage.” He cites one potential marginal gain from these drugs, but it’s one he believes would be cancelled out by the inevitable side effects.“A couple of studies have shown that if you take the maximum therapeutic doses [of inhaled beta-agonists], there is a potential to improve sprint performance but, to be honest, you’d have to take a shed-load, and the increased heart rate, shakes and palpitations would counteract the advantage.” What about for someone who does have asthma?Earlier in 2017, British Cycling, Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins came under scrutiny over the use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) in relation to asthma medication after they were leaked by hacking group Fancy Bears.
Concerns over TUEs providing a grey area for some athletes to gain a performance advantage have never been far from the headlines over the past few years.
And, to back up those words with actions, step forward, Cycling Weekly’s two Dans…
art editor Dan Baines has no previous history of asthma but sometimes suffers from pollen allergies.
Why do so many riders appear to require medication to help them breathe, and are they really gaining an advantage?
In March, spoke to another Olympic medallist cyclist whose asthma-related TUEs were leaked: sprinter Callum Skinner.
We have plenty of research proving that.” That research has shown that beta-2 agonists, the swift-acting medications that in asthmatics relieve constriction in the airways, have negligible effect on performance among non-asthmatics.