UCI warn­ing to tech frauds

Cy­clists tempted to cheat with hid­den mo­tors ‘highly likely to be caught’ with new scan­ning tool

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - — Wheels Re­porter.

THE world gov­ern­ing body of cy­clying races has warned com­peti­tors that it now has the scan­ning tools to very eas­ily de­tect any bike with a hid­den mo­tor.

Union Cy­cliste In­ter­na­tionale (UCI) pres­i­dent Brian Cook­son said in a state­ment the UCI had in the past two years spent a con­sid­er­able sum to find a method of test­ing bikes for tech­no­log­i­cal fraud which is flex­i­ble, re­li­able, ef­fec­tive, fast and easy to de­ploy.

“We have con­sulted ex­perts from a wide va­ri­ety of pro­fes­sional back­grounds — uni­ver­si­ties, me­chan­i­cal, elec­tronic and soft­ware engi­neers, physi­cists — and worked with the best tech­nol­ogy avail­able.

“Our abil­ity to re­li­ably test so many bikes has trans­formed our work in this area and we will con­tinue to test widely in all our dis­ci­plines to en­sure that any­one tempted to cheat in this way knows they are highly likely to be caught.”

Since first de­ploy­ing its new scan­ning method to test for tech­no­log­i­cal fraud in Jan­uary, UCI has tested sev­eral thou­sand bikes at many races in dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines and in dif­fer­ent gen­der and age cat­e­gories.

All bikes can also be checked at the start and end of a race with mag­netic wave scan­ning tech­nol­ogy de­ployed by the UCI since the start of 2016.

The new scan­ning method uses a tablet, case, adapter and cus­tom-made soft­ware which en­able an op­er­a­tor to test a com­plete bike, wheels, frame, groupset and other com­po­nents in less than a minute. The soft­ware utilised was cre­ated in part­ner­ship with a com­pany of spe­cial­ist de­vel­op­ers and elec­tri­cal engi­neers. If the scan picks up any­thing un­usual, the bike or com­po­nent is then dis­man­tled for in­spec­tion. The scan­ner cre­ates a mag­netic field which al­lows de­tec­tion of any mo­tor, mag­net or solid ob­ject such as a bat­tery that could be con­cealed in a bike frame or com­po­nents.

Re­cent ex­am­ples at stage races are ap­prox­i­mately 500 tests at the Tour de Suisse and over 2 000 at the Giro d’Italia.

Co-op­er­a­tion from teams, rid­ers and or­gan­is­ers has been ex­cel­lent and the UCI staff and tech­ni­cal com­mis­saires de­ployed to carry out these tests have met with no re­sis­tance.

It is clear that all stake­hold­ers in cycling have a com­mon in­ter­est to demon­strate that this sort of cheat­ing has no place in the sport.

For the Tour de France, the UCI will have re­sources in place to con­duct be­tween 3 000 and 4 000 tests.

An ef­fec­tive test­ing pro­to­col is one which is un­pre­dictable so the UCI con­firms that it will de­ploy ad­di­tional meth­ods of de­tec­tion at the Tour to both as­sess their per­for­mance and to en­sure a var­ied test­ing pro­to­col.

UCI scan­ners, as well as be­ing de­ployed across the UCI cal­en­dar, are now avail­able to UCI’s mem­ber Na­tional Fed­er­a­tions, sup­ported by train­ing from spe­cial­ist staff.

Many fed­er­a­tions have placed or­ders and some have al­ready be­gun de­ploy­ing it at na­tional level races.

UCI pres­i­dent Brian Cook­son said: “Since the be­gin­ning of the year, we are send­ing a clear mes­sage which is that there is lit­er­ally nowhere to hide for any­one fool­ish enough to at­tempt to cheat in this way.

“A mod­i­fied bike is ex­tremely easy to de­tect with our scan­ners and we will con­tinue to de­ploy them ex­ten­sively through­out the Tour and the rest of the sea­son.”


While an elec­tric mo­tor hid­den in a bike frame shows up clearly in this ther­mal im­age, the world cycling body says mag­netic field-based scan­ning is even more ef­fec­tive.

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