Cy­cling body con­firms first ‘ techno dop­ing’

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING -

THE In­ter­na­tional Cy­cling Union ( UCI) con­firmed this week it had found the first case of “techno dop­ing” when an elec­tric mo­tor was found packed into the frame of Bel­gian rider Femke van den Driess­che’s bi­cy­cle.

UCI pres­i­dent Brian Cook­son told a news con­fer­ence: “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 race was won by Bri­tain’s Evie Richards but Cook­son said the mat­ter “does not con­cern any of the rid­ers on the podium.”

“The In­ter­na­tional Cy­cling Union con­firms that pur­suant to the UCI’s Reg­u­la­tions on tech­no­log­i­cal fraud a bike has been de­tained for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing checks at the Women’s Un­der 23 race of the 2016 UCI Cy­clo- cross World Cham­pi­onships,” the UCI said.

Tech­no­log­i­cal fraud car­ries a min­i­mum six- month sus­pen­sion and a fine of be­tween 20 000 to 200 000 Swiss francs ( over R3,1 mil­lion).

Last year UCI pres­i­dent Brian Cook­son said that he be­lieved such bikes may have been used in the past. In De­cem­ber this was echoed by the UCI’s new tech­ni­cal man­ager Mark Barfield.

Van den Driess­che was among the race fa­vorites, but was forced to with­draw from the women’s un­der- 23 race be­cause of a me­chan­i­cal prob­lem to­ward the end.

Van den Driess­che de­nied she had on pur­pose used a bike with a con­cealed mo­tor, say­ing that it was iden­ti­cal to her own but be­longed to a friend and that a team me­chanic had given it to her by mis­take be­fore the race, AFP re­ported.

“It wasn’t my bike, it was that of a friend and was iden­ti­cal to mine,” a tear­ful Van den Driess­che told Bel­gian TV chan­nel Sporza, AFP re­ported.

“This friend went around the course Satur­day be­fore drop­ping off the bike in the truck.

“A me­chanic, think­ing it was my bike, cleaned it and pre­pared it for my race,” she added, in­sist­ing that she was “to­tally un­aware” it was fit­ted with a hid­den mo­tor.

“I feel re­ally ter­ri­ble. I’m aware I have a big prob­lem. [ But] I have no fears of an in­quiry into this. I have done noth­ing wrong,” she added. — Reuters- AFP.

PHOTO: SCREEN GRAB

Femke van den Driess­che with the al­leged elec­tri­cally pow­ered bike in world cy­cling’s first case of “techno dop­ing” dur­ing a cham­pi­onship race.

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