Stiff ban for using bike with motor

LAUSANNE • UCI, the global cycling governing body, yesterday banned Belgium's Femke van den Driessche for six years, for the first recorded case of using hidden motors in racing.

The organisation hailed a new scanner which detected the electric motor as a major breakthrough in the war against the sport's latest cheats.

The motor was found in a bike used by the Under-23 European cyclo-cross champion at the U-23 World Championships in Belgium in January.

The 19-year-old was also fined 20,000 Swiss francs (S$27,800). All of her results from October last year have been annulled and she was ordered to return all prize money and medals.

The magnetic resonance scanner used by the UCI "quickly detects motors, magnetic fields and solid objects concealed in a frame or components", a federation statement said.

It added that the motor "was concealed along with a battery in the seat-tube. It was controlled by a Bluetooth switch installed underneath the handlebar tape".

UCI president Brian Cookson said the new testing will become widespread, including at major Tours, adding: "We have invested considerable resources in developing this new and highly effective scanning technology, and also in strengthening the sanctions applicable to anyone found cheating in this way.

"This case is a major victory for the UCI and all those fans, riders and teams who want to be assured that we will keep this form of cheating out of our sport."

International riders association (CPA) president Gianni Bugno this month called for life bans for those caught with motors.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2016, with the headline 'Stiff ban for using bike with motor'. Print Edition | Subscribe