UCI President David Lappartient has strongly backed introducing measures around tramadol ©Getty Images

Tests to detect the presence of tramadol are set to be introduced by the start of the 2019 season by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

UCI President David Lappartient claimed the governing body needed to do something to tackle use of the painkiller.

He had included a pledge to tackle its use in his successful Presidential campaign last year.

"We tried to get WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] on board to get a second test specifically for tramadol, but there has been no real will on their part to do so," Lappartient said, according to Agence France-Presse.

"We are taking it forward on our own and have found a finger pin-prick test that detects the presence, or not, of tramadol and its level of concentration.

"Two-thirds of the tramadol detected in tests of athletes is found in cyclists.

"And five per cent of cyclists tested show positive results for it.

"Tramadol is a problem in cycling, we needed to do something about it."

Riders look set to be tested to see whether they have used tramadol ©Getty Images
Riders look set to be tested to see whether they have used tramadol ©Getty Images

Tramadol is among the substances included on the WADA Monitoring List, but is not banned outright.

The WADA confirmed yesterday it would remain on the list for 2019, having been on the programme since 2012.

It has not been added to the prohibited list despite growing pressure, with the United States Anti-Doping Agency and UK Anti-Doping among those to support its addition.

WADA research previously found that between 71 and 82 per cent of use of the painkiller, a synthetic chemical, between 2012 and 2015 came in cycling.

Earlier this year, WADA said that they were not yet convinced that tramadol has a performance-enhancing benefit but they could ban it in the coming years if they conclude that it does.

The UCI previously stated they would introduce measures by the start of 2019 which would see cyclists prohibited from starting a race if they have used tramadol.

Earlier this week, the UCI said that Professor Xavier Bigard, the governing body's medical director, is heavily involved in the drafting of legislative provisions which aim to ban any rider who has used tramadol or corticosteroids from starting a race.

The WADA have stated they are supportive of the UCI's efforts and will work with them to explore options.

"WADA is supportive of the UCI’s initiative to control the use of Tramadol in their sport, primarily for health reasons," a WADA spokesperson told insidethegames.

"We maintain an ongoing dialogue and continue to make every effort to explore options for the UCI in this matter."