In a new twist to the doping controversy surrounding international sports, especially cycling, a New Zealand cyclist has admitted that he uses painkillers to aid his performance, adding that he knows of other riders who are doing the same.
Stating that a sport scientist, who also works for national body Bike New Zealand, has influenced him towards the practice, Dunedin road rider and winner of this year's Tour de Lakes Alex McGregor confirmed that over the past two years he has taken over-the-counter painkillers before and during races to intentionally dull the effects of fatigue.
According to Stuff.co.nz, although he admitted that he will continue to experiment with the practice despite suspecting it interferes with medication prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), McGregor said that he does not believe that there is an ethical problem as it does not work like the banned performance-enhancing drugs.
However, McGregor admitted that 'it is not a good look' to swallow pills on the start line.
According to the cyclist, the scientist is Matt Shallcrass, who is studying the effects of paracetamol on athletic performance and the brain at Otago University, and is also a BikeNZ junior development coach, adding that they will be testing the dosage side of 100 mg paracetamol over a 40 km trial.
But, Shallcrass has denied working with McGregor and said that his research was about the interactions in the body during exercise, instead of performance with paracetamol, adding that he only knows McGregor through cycling as they both just cycle at the Otago club.
Confirming that he is a BikeNZ development coach, Shallcrass further said that he would not recommend using painkillers during a race as it may be dangerous and probably not in the best interests of the sport.
Agreeing with Shallcrass, BikeNZ high-performance director Mark Elliott said that he was unaware of any such situation and also questioned what it had to do with BikeNZ.