Great Britain riders Liam Killeen, Helen Wyman and Ian Field give their reaction to the news that a motor was found in a Belgian rider's bike at the cyclo-cross world championships
- By Ben Goddard / Snowdon Sports


Members of the Great Britain cyclo-cross team who were competing at the World Championships in Zolder have reacted with anger to the news that a motor was found in a Belgian competitor’s bike – with some questioning the whole Belgium team.

European Under-23 champion Femke Van den Driessche’s bike was taken away by UCI officials for investigation of ‘technological fraud’.

“I heard they had a scanner in the pits. I doubt it is her choice,” said Liam Killeen after finishing 37th in the elite men’s race. “I’d question the whole team because I don’t think an under-23 lady would have the means to put a motor into her bottom bracket. It’s not good for the sport.”

Helen Wyman has competed against Van den Driessche this season and finished sixth at the Koppenberg cross where the 19-year-old finish second.

>>> Great Britain team manager slams electric motor cheating

She said: “It’s extraordinary and I can’t understand why you would do it. Women’s cyclo-cross is at such an accessible level I don’t understand why you would have to do it.

“I just think it’s crazy personally because I can win races, Sanne [Cant] can win races and Nikki [Harris] can too because we train hard and race to the best of our ability.

“This year has been the most open year there has ever been and it’s so accessible to get to that top level. Yet she feels that she still wants to cheat – I just don’t understand.”

>>> Motor found in Belgian cyclo-cross bike ‘a disgrace’ says national cycling coach

Their comments were reiterated by Ian Field, who was the highest place Brit in the senior men’s race in 28th position some four minutes behind winner Wout Van Aert.

He said: “It’s outrageous that someone thinks that is okay to do in their head. It’s obviously not the idea of a 19-year-old girl but the people around her and the fact she didn’t say no.

“It’s getting to the point where nothing surprises you anymore. It’s sad for the sport and for this weekend that it’s going to be remembered for that first motor in a cycling event. It’s just pathetic.”

  • some one

    Gawd ! – I must get one (too old & tubby to race, so no threat from me… lol)

  • Marko Kraljevic

    No it doesn’t require a “fairly large battery under the saddle”, because you could fit the individual cells anywhere in the frame… Everybody’s got something to say & with their take on things, like the other people not understanding that it’s possible to have a motor which assists in the turning – without a switch, meh. Anyway.

  • kevinmorice

    Or passes quickly if the geometry is different, or the alleged friend is very similar size/shape. But she has already faced trial by media, so even if she is completely innocent there are already people like those earlier in this thread, who want to see her head on a pike.

  • davem

    Whether she was riding this one is irrelevant, IF it was one of the stable of bikes she was going to use during the race. Intention to dope is the same offence as doping under the sporting rules, plenty have been busted for it.
    If it wasn’t hers and did belong to a friend then fine, but that argument fails quickly if the geometry and configuration is exactly the same as the others in the stable.

  • blemcooper

    It is an off the shelf item these days (search for “vivax” for an example), though it still requires bike mechanic skills to install. It fits in the seat tube, not the downtube, and the motor-to-crank gear disenages when it’s not in use, so no drag is added (just some dead weight).

  • From other articles I’ve read on this subject, it appears her brother is serving a ban for using EPO. Make of that what you will…

  • kevinmorice

    She wasn’t riding it.

  • kevinmorice

    She wasn’t on the allegedly dodgy bike. And her position was due to drivetrain issues resulting in a snapped chain.

  • mariansteinbach

    So what’s that then? Anti-Doping? The team wanted to give their rider a little disadvantage, so she doesn’t crush everybody? Or the rider wasn’t in the mood for a podium position, so she decided to slow herself down just enough?

    Not too convincing.

  • davem

    That said, regard the ‘friend’ claim. They will be able to compare the build of the bike to others. Does it have the same contact points, saddle etc, and dimensions as the other race bikes or not? And if so produce the ‘friend’, Habeas corpus, let us see the person that rides exactly the same bike geometry.

  • davem

    It entirely could have been her idea and the support team researched how to make it happen. She was certainly appears happy to have used it. No less culpable than any other person involved, none of this helpless or manipulated victim bullshit.
    Never underestimate the single mindedness of a teenager set on making a career of something.

  • Chris

    Regarding drag on over run. Suggest you Google sprag clutch.

  • Altimis Nuel

    Real question is “Why her bike have it”

    Not “how its work”, work as intended or not, its not the main issue for now, just “why the hell is there” and UCI caught it….

  • Rob King

    Since this story is being accompanied about the internet by photos of the Vivax Assist system, can we assume this is the system used? If so, it requires an fairly large battery under the saddle to operate. Is it possible that this bike has the motor installed but was un-powered for the race? If so, then all she achieved was adding 1.8kg to her bike – possibly explaining her low race position.

  • Goatse

    There is no-one else to blame.

  • Howmanyjackos

    Electric motors require a power source (battery) .
    They also require a switch to operate them (speed controller)
    The very latest brushless motors combined with lithium polymer batterys need a digital speed controller.
    The challenge of incorporating a motor into a bikes downtube coupled effectively with the crank spindle is not the work of a single “cheat” it is very difficult. So is the battery etc.
    Whats even harder is not producing more drag when the motor isn’t working.
    Don’t think we should blame the rider in this case..