UCI suspends Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche for six years after an electric motor was discovered in her spare bike during the 2016 Cyclo-cross World Championships


Femke Van den Driessche has been suspended from competition by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for six years after an electric motor was discovered in one of her bikes during the 2016 Cyclo-cross World Championships.

The UCI announced on Tuesday that its Disciplinary Commission has banned the 19-year-old for six years for violating its rules relating to ‘technical fraud’. She has also been fined CHF 20,000 (approximately £14,000), and has been ordered to pay costs of the proceedings against her.

“Ms Femke Van den Driessche is found to have committed a violation of art. 1.3.010 in combination with art. 12.013bis (Technological fraud) of the UCI Regulations,” said the UCI statement.

“Ms Femke Van den Driessche is suspended for a period of six years starting from and including October 11, 2015 and ending on October 10, 2021.”

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

In addition to the suspension and fine, Van den Driessche will be disqualified from all races starting from October 11 2015, and will have to return all prizes and prize money.

The concealed motor was discovered in Van den Driessche’s spare bike in the pit area during the under-23 women’s race at the 2016 cyclo-cross Worlds in January.

UCI inspectors used a magnetic resonance scanner to detect the motor, which it reports was a Vivax unit and battery concealed in the seat tube.

The motor was activated by a wireless Bluetooth switch hidden in the bar tape.

It was the first time that a motor had been discovered in a bike during a competition.

UCI president Brian Cookson commented: “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.”

  • Stevo

    How do you know it wasn’t there by accident?

  • I think 6 years is too much for this young lady. Being fined and striped from all prices is justifiably but getting that much time off the cycling…She should’ve get the same amount as getting caught for doping. But hers “friend” , who “accidentally” gave her that ride as she claims and other people who can make this tech behind UCI’s back, should be investigated further in order to discover if there are more bikes with this “mechanical doping” in professional cycling.

  • Tuco Ramirez

    This cheater should have been banned for life! And the Team should be punished too.

  • nortonpdj

    Don’t be naive. Maybe she did not get round to using it in this race, but it wasn’t there by accident was it? And maybe you think that she has not used it in previous races.

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    That’s how the caught her – shocking isn’t it?

  • Dave Smith

    You mean ban Belgium from competing internationally for life? She was not racing for a trade team!

  • Colin

    A bit harsh as she didn’t even use it!

  • Dick_Turpin

    That yellow stuff is high voltage insulation… 😉

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    But who was behind the motor, which person had the daft notion to begin with?

  • Adam Beevers

    I agree. What’s happening with the rest of the team?

  • Alex

    She should have got a lifetime ban just for the hi-viz yellow brake and gear cables. I mean what a bad choice which should have raised suspicions …………

  • Bill Reilly

    They should ban the whole team for life!… There is NO EXCUSE for what they
    did!… This is much worse than doping as it’s blatant cheating 100%.