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.