News 19th April 2016

UCI defends tests after mechanical doping allegations

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has defended its methods of detecting hidden motors in bikes, after allegations that they were used during the Strade Bianche one-day race and the Coppi e Bartali race in Italy this season. The allegations stemmed from an investigative report by the France 2 TV station (video below) and Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which claimed that thermal cameras had shown seven riders using hidden motors during the two races.

“We have been trialling new methods of detection over the last year,” the UCI told Reuters. “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. The scanning is done with a tablet and enables an operator to test the frame and wheels of a bike in less than a minute. We are confident that we now have a method of detection that is extremely efficient and easy to deploy.”

The UCI told Reuters it had tested 216 bikes at the Tour of Flanders and 224 at Paris-Roubaix earlier this month. On 1 February, the UCI said it was investigating its first case of ‘technological fraud’, since toughening its Regulations on 30 January 2015 (relevant section highlighted in red). The cyclist concerned, Femke Van den Dreissche, decided to quit cycling ahead of her hearing.

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