Michael Barry
Bradly Wiggins
Christopher Froome

Team Sky presents itself as a team with the image of a tough anti-doping line. It is white or black, zero tolerance, who ever came into contact with doping, out of the team….. But according to the Canadian Michael Barry, former rider, it is not white or black, but gray.

According to Barry, the use of the much-discussed painkiller Tramadol was normal in Sky. “I used Tramadol during races, several Sky riders did so every race,” he says in an interview with The Times. The painkiller is still not on the doping list, though several team doctors are begging for it. According to them it is a major cause of many crashes. One side effect of tramadol is loss of concentration with a negative influence on riding ability.

Also the MPCC is in favor of a ban of tramadol for the cycling peloton. But that only applies to the affiliated teams, the member teams agree to not use the product. Sky is not affiliated with the MPCC; last year Sky pledged to support the ban. Sky admitted in November last year that the team used tramadol. But only in the proper clinical context and said it was in favor to put it on the doping list.

Barry cycled between 2010 and 2012 for Sky. “Using Tramadol I felt euphoric, but it is also difficult to focus. The pain in your legs disappears, so you can kick harder. You can go beyond your natural pain threshold.” Barry says that Sky used no banned products to his knowledge.


Sky -with the British Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome the two most recent tour winners in their ranks- said that the drug is no longer used within the team. “Not in competition and not outside, not as a preventive nor to combat pain effectively,” said a spokesman. “We are convinced that the side effects, dizziness and somnolence, are too risky for the riders. Tramadol is not prohibited by WADA, but our point of view is “that it would have to be and our riders and team doctors know that”.