Eddy Merckx has called for the UCI to issue lifetime bans to cyclists who are found to be guilty of 'motorised doping'.


Eddy Merckx has hit out against those found to be guilty of ‘motorised doping’ following the UCI’s confirmation that evidence of a device being concealed inside the bike of a competitor was found during last weekend’s Cyclocross World Championships.

Femke van den Driessche is the rider found to have been in possession of the illegal bike during Saturday’s Women’s Under 23 race but Merckx isn’t convinced it is a one-off incident.

>>> British riders voice opinion on motorised doping scandal

Speaking ahead of the Ladies Tour of Qatar, Merckx said: “They have to suspend for life, for me they have to suspend for life.”

“From what I saw yesterday on the television, [it seemed] it was not the first time. They also showed a cyclo-cross on the Koppenberg and it was not normal. For me, it’s the worst thing you can do. You might as well go by motorcycle.”

The current UCI regulations surrounding ‘technical doping’, which came into effect in January 2015, stipulate that offenders should receive a minimum suspension of six months and a fine of between 20,000 and 200,000 swiss francs.

>>> Everything you need to know about the motorised doping scandal

This is not the first time allegations of this sort have surfaced with Fabian Cancellara raising suspicion as far back as 2010 before Ryder Hesjedal’s self-moving bike created controversy four years later.

Nevertheless Merckx believes this is not common practice amongst the rest of the peloton and rejected claims that this incident could be just the tip of the iceberg.

“I don’t think so; I don’t think the other ones are so stupid to do something like that. That can only happen with riders who don’t have experience. What has happened is very bad for cycling,” added Merckx.

>>> Chris Froome: ‘My bikes have been checked for hidden motors a dozen times’

But the five-time Tour de France winner believes this latest form of alleged cheating surpasses that of the chemical kind which has been rife in the sport for years, adding that it should therefore carry heavier sanctions.

“For me it’s more than doping, it’s more than doping. It gives you 50 watts more, or even 100, it depends,” Merckx said. “That’s nothing to do with cycling anymore. That’s motorcycling. They have to go riding with [Valentino] Rossi.”



  • Tony Short

    I don’t want to turn this into an attack on Merckx. He raced in a different era when drug taking was routine and testing was in it’s infancy. That’s not to say I condone anything he may have done but times really were different when he raced. What I struggle with is the apparent contradiction between his stance on PEDs and mechanical doping. Both are cheating and if he wants life bans for people who bolt motors to their bottom brackets then why not for those who do the chemical equivalent when they get a drug assisted boost?

  • Tim packer

    Tony short.. You couldn’t of put it better.. That hypocrite Merckx won’t say anything regarding doping because rode on drugs like every other doper.. This makes him no better than Armstrong and every other doper from the 90s

  • EB

    I didn’t say she didn’t know it was wrong. But, you certainly showed your intellect to be greater than that straw man. Well done.

  • Gaz Kendall

    sod that, she rode a motorbike during a pedal cycle race…i dont give a damn how old you are, you know thats wrong!.

  • EB

    I’d agree, lifetime, if she were 25. A 19 year old coached by her father……

    I’d certainly lifetime ban the coach from setting foot at an event. I’d be inclined to give her a second chance when she is a few years older. Maybe a lifetime ban for anyone over the age of 21.

  • Tim packer

    I completely agree.. But what a joke the man is don’t you think.. I also agree with you about thinking Simpson was a hero has a monument put up in his name YET he took drugs as well.. Perhaps a monument to all the others dopers as well

  • Tim packer

    I complete agree with you .. It’s an absolute disgrace this man can have the nerve to say something like that ..

  • ummm…

    Tim, go further back. Remember when he was winning everything AND TESTING POSITIVE. That is why he keeps his mouth shut. Because cycling will continue to celebrate him, and this website will continue to celebrate Tom Simpson as nobody wants to admit the sport, and sport in general is rife with “cheats”

  • Tim packer

    Eddy Merckx you total hypocrite !! A life time ban on motorised doping yet all the drugs scandals of the last 10 years and you don’t open your mouth not once.. Everything that happened regarding lance Armstrong and everybody else yet no 1 SINGLE word said!! And now you say something like this.. What an absolute joker you even state it’s bad for cycling !! So what about the last 10 years of doping scandals.. You don’t think that’s bad then!!!!

  • Tony Short

    Doesn’t Eddie Merckx want drug dopers banned for life also? What’s the difference between sticking a needle in your arse and bolting a motor onto your bottom bracket?

  • Oleg

    Eddy 1000% right! For such a outrageous disrespect for competitors only a lifetime ban might become an appropriate punishment