The Belgian will also call a halt to her career, a decision that may be out of her hands if she is handed a life ban

Femke Van den Driessche has opted to not defend herself in the upcoming disciplinary hearing for mechanical doping and will also retire from cyclocross with immediate effect, reports Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium.

The young Belgian is due in front of the UCI’s Disciplinary Commission on Tuesday, March 15 but will offer no defence with regards to the motor that was found in her spare bike at the U23 Cyclocross World Championships back in January.

The 19-year-old had stated that the bike in question was not hers and was in the pits due to a mix-up by a mechanic.

Reports prior to the disciplinary hearing had suggested that the UCI was seeking a lifetime ban and a €50,000 euro fine for the first case of its kind. Such a punishment would have rendered Van den Driessche’s decision to retire irrelevant.

“After consulting with my lawyers and my family, I have decided to discontinue my defence at the hearing in Aigle,” she said in a statement.

“I have decided for myself to stop cyclo-cross. The costs of the meeting in Switzerland will be too high for me. An acquittal is impossible, the bike was in my pit zone.

“I thank all the people who supported me and still support – my lawyers, friends and supporters,” she added.

“I want to continue my life in peace and serenity and hope that everyone will have some understanding for this and will respect this.”

Following the case, mechanical doping checks have been seen at a number of races as the UCI moves to show it is working to catch any other riders tempted to cheat in such a way.

  • skelto99

    How’s a 19 year old kid supposed to find a potential 50,000 Euro fine? It wasn’t really ever going to get to a hearing. Or is that what the UCI wanted? I don’t know how she would have defended the charge, though. On the positive side, the UCI seem to have laid their cards on the table regarding mechanical doping – transgression is terminal. Good.

  • Josh

    She may have ridden the bike in a different race, but she didn’t ride the bike during this particular race, and she had already retired from the race before they found the motorised bike in her pit.

  • ricorico

    Not sure how you know she did or did not ride the offending bike? Most riders don’t end up with illegal bikes in their possession and that seems to be the problem.

  • Josh

    Because by the UCI’s definition, putting the bike in the pit is “use” even though she did not ride it during the race.

  • ricorico

    Then why not defend herself?

  • Michael

    Whooooosh

  • Josh

    She never rode the motorised bike, the bike was found in her pit and had not been used in the race.

  • ummm…

    if the UCI is consistence they would make her an official cycling ambassador.

  • barry davies

    Peace and love to you all !!!

  • Michael

    “I want to continue my life in peace and serenity and hope that everyone will have some understanding for this and will respect this.”

    She wants quieter on board motors?