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UCI to review special exemptions after Froome case

PARIS (Reuters) - The International Cycling Union (UCI) is reviewing its procedure over therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) after granting Tour de France winner Chris Froome the right to use a steroid-based drug in April.

"Working closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency and its director-general David Howman, the UCI has been reviewing all of its anti-doping rules and procedures including those regarding therapeutic use exemptions," the UCI said in a statement on Monday.

"A completely revised set of rules is in preparation and will enter into force on January 1, 2015 in conjunction with the revised 2015 WADA code and international standards, including the international standard for therapeutic use exemptions (ISTUE).

"As an immediate measure, the UCI confirms that from now on, all TUE decisions will pass through the TUE committee."

UCI regulations already state that "the UCI shall appoint a committee of at least three physicians to consider requests for TUEs".

French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche claimed earlier this month that the governing body had not followed protocol as Team Sky requested a special exemption that allowed Froome to use glucocorticosteroids before the Tour de Romandie, as their rider was suffering a chest infection.

Team Sky are not a member of the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling), whose teams have agreed not to ask for exemptions for cortico-steroids, which work to reduce inflammation.

The UCI, however, reiterated that it had followed the rules when granting Team Sky an exemption for Froome, who will defend his Tour de France title from July 5.

"It is important to note that in connection with the TUE granted to Chris Froome, as confirmed by WADA, any rider in the same situation with comparable supporting medical evidence would have been given an authorization to take similar oral treatment," the statement read.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Stephen Wood)

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