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.
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.”
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.”