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