Cycling: Anti-doping body calls for systematic motor testing

Cyclists at the Argus Cape Town City Cycle Tour, the largest individually-timed bicycle race in the world, on March 6  in Cape Town.
Cyclists at the Argus Cape Town City Cycle Tour, the largest individually-timed bicycle race in the world, on March 6 in Cape Town. PHOTO: AFP

(AFP) - The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) has called for the systematic testing of the bicycles of top cyclists to counter possible technological fraud.

The MPCC, which groups cycling teams from the top two professional levels of the sport as well as other partners such as national federations and sponsors, also said it was studying the possibility of bringing legal proceedings against technological cheats.

In a statement, the MPCC said it was studying "all possibilities to pursue the necessary and useful legal avenues needed to counter cheats to protect the integrity of the sport of cycling".

The MPCC also called on the International Cycling Union (UCI) to "open an immediate internal investigation" into technological fraud.

The anti-doping body's statement came as a reaction to a programme shown on French television on Sunday which made unsubstantiated claims that it had found indications that motorised bicycles could have been used in a couple of races in Italy last month.

The programme makers admitted to having no proof but showed footage of certain cyclists that have long been suspected of producing performances that were boosted by illicit means.

The MPCC called for the UCI to employ thermal cameras to help detect the use of motors.

The demands came two days after international riders' association (CPA) president Gianni Bugno called for life bans for those caught with motorised bicycles.

Bugno also demanded the use of thermal cameras, which the Stade 2 programme had used to detect what it claimed was suspect cycles.

However, the UCI responded with a statement saying: "We have looked at thermal imaging, X-ray and ultrasonic testing but by far the most cost effective, reliable and accurate method has proved to be magnetic resonance testing using software we have created in partnership with a company of specialist developers."