UCI warning to tech frauds
Cyclists tempted to cheat with hidden motors ‘highly likely to be caught’ with new scanning tool
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.