Cycling Ireland have issued a statement in relation to the use of caffeinated substances by underage riders and have outlined that gels, drinks and various other forms of caffeine should not be used by cyclists under the age of 18.
The statement follows on from a couple of serious incidents which occurred recently involving younger riders having taken caffeine.
The statement from Cycling Ireland is as follows:
Following recent serious incidents Cycling Ireland would like to highlight the risks of inappropriate consumption of caffeinated substances by youth and junior cyclists.
Caffeine is widely used by the majority of the adult population in various foods and drinks, along with being available in a wide range of sports gels, drinks, powders and in over the counter tablets or capsules.
While it can be effective in enhancing sports performance in trained athletes at moderate doses, “Caffeine Supplementation should not be used as an ergogenic aid in athletes under the age of 18” according to the INSTITUTE OF SPORT.
While there are a range of performance benefits for adult athletes across many sports in caffeine consumption, there are very serious concerns that are particularly relevant in relation to younger athletes, such as an increased heart rate, an alteration of fine motor control and over-arousal which can have a negative impact on race preparation, recovery and sleep.
Cycling Ireland would like to emphasise that caffeine supplements should not be used by riders under the age of 18, and should not be included as part of a prize for youth or junior cyclists by race promoters.