Motor Doping Confirmed By UCI At CX Worlds
The UCI have today confirmed that they have seized a bike at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Zolder for reasons they describe as ‘mechanical doping’.
The bike belongs to under 23 rider Femke Van den Driessche. Her father has claimed via Belgian newspaper, de Standaard, that her bike was switched during a pit stop.
The UCI has not yet confirmed what it defines as motor doping in this instance but it is widely believed to consist of a motor and gear box inserted in the downtube of the bike just above the bottom bracket. Our sister magazine Singletrack reported on a MTB version from the Eurobike 2014 Outdoor demo show in 2014. The video below shows the motor installed in the downtube of a hard tail MTB using a seatpack battery. It is thought that in the case of road and CX bikes the battery pack itself can now also be hidden inside the seat tube, making it impossible to detect from a visual inspection.
Update: 6pm 31st Jan – Apparently the UCI don’t like us talking about ‘motor doping’. They would prefer we called it ‘mechanical fraud’ it seems.
Update: 8pm 31st Jan – UCI President, Brian Cookson has confirmed that Femke Van den Driessche’s bike did contain an electric motor at a press conference earlier today. When the bike was inspected electrical wiring was visible after removal of the seatpost.
“It’s absolutely clear that there was technological fraud.”, said Cookson.
“It’s absolutely clear that there was technological fraud. There was a concealed motor. I don’t think there are any secrets about that.
“The UCI is committed to protecting riders who do not want to cheat in whatever form and to make sure that the right riders win the race.
“To all the people who want to cheat, Saturday sent a clear message: we will catch you and we will punish you because our technology to detect such fraud seems to work”
The UCI are believed to use radio frequency detecting equipment to inspect riders’ bikes.
Van den Driessche denies knowingly cheating and claims that the bike belonged to a friend who pre-rode the course on Saturday. That bike was identical to her own race bike and it was mistakenly prep’d and cleaned for her race she claims.
She could face a minimum 6 month ban and a fine up to 180,000 euros if found guilty of cheating.
More on this story as we get it.