Christian Prudhomme says cycling must fight against motorised doping, which he believes can no longer be denied

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has called for ‘the most severe’ punishments for riders who put a motor in their bike in races.

His comments come after a French television report claimed that seven riders used motors at two major Italian races this season, spotted with heat sensors.

Prudhomme says that after all the work people involved in cycling have done to return the sport to credibility after decades of doping problems, this latest scandal has come as a blow.

“After doping, this is the reality we face,” Prudhomme told La Derniere Heure. “Two steps forward, three steps back.

“It took many years and a lot of effort [to move away from a doping culture], and yet, all is not eradicated; for cycling again become a sport that can be considered like any other and this is the new [scandal] that hits us.

“Motors [in bikes] are no longer a rumour, they exist. We must fight together, not against each other.”

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

He added: “We have to defend the vast majority of riders and we have to take radical measures, the most severe ones possible.”

In 2015, the UCI introduced sanctions of a minimum six-month ban and a fine of up to one million Swiss Francs for those found guilty of technological fraud.

However, the UCI reported is reportedly seeking a lifetime ban for Femke Van den Driessche after she was caught with a motor in a spare bike at the U23 Cyclo-cross World Championships in January.

  • Eric

    Indeed. That string of promising Dutch bicycle racers who died during those times from heart attacks, was ominous.

  • Stevo

    I think it is primarily a shame for her if she is innocent!

  • rosscado

    Not to my knowledge. She claims to be unable to contest the UCI hearing on grounds of cost so we may never know what really happened. Which is a shame as it’s an important incident about which much more needs to be discovered.

  • Stevo

    That’s an awful lot of bikes though. And it would be hard to ensure that no rider or team car swapped any bike for an unchecked one somewhere during the stage.

  • Stevo

    What sort of whistle-blowing mechanism would you suggest? There’s no legal reason why a mechanic shouldn’t spill the beans now.

  • Stevo

    Indeed. Was the explanation offered by Miss Van den Driessche after the race ever actually disproved?

  • PLAAND

    I’m sure they sleep better than the cyclists in the 90’s and early 2000’s whose blood was so thick they had to wake up and get on the trainer in the middle of the night lest their heart just up and stop beating.

  • Alex

    With mechanical doping being so widespread soon Pro riders will be travelling faster than the motorbikes that service them and frequently knock them down. Maybe all bikes should go into scrutineering prior to and at the end of a race/stage like F1 cars have to?

  • rosscado

    Perhaps you are right but that’s just further speculation. There’s a distinct lack of specific evidence in these cases.

  • rosscado

    No, that makes it an isolated incident. And the circumstances of even that confirmed incident are unclear.

  • Brendan Power

    You’re right; there has only been one confirmed case, which makes it a reality.

  • Jay

    How could the riders who cheated to win sleep well at night…. Worst of all is even if you cheated you may not have won given how tough some of the races are. There should be a whistle blowing mechanism especially tailored for mechanics as they would be the ones with the most intimate knowledge when setting up the bikes.

  • ummm…

    Cycling is AREADY like any other elite pro sport…….that is to say full of cheats.

  • Anthony Jackson

    I would imagine, same as usual, they know who is offending, and are nervous about another ‘scandal’, risking more damage to sponsorship and money

  • rosscado

    How exactly does Prudhomme know that motor doping is a reality? Rumours abound but so far as I know there’s only been one confirmed case, that of Femke Van den Driessche.