UCI must preserve the image of cycling with better mechanical doping checks, says European Cycling Union

UEC calls for fast and tough action from the world governing body

Femke Van Den Driessche

(Image credit: Watson)

Following the discovery of a motor in the bike of a Belgian under-23 rider at the Cyclocross World Championships last week, the European Cycling Union (UEC) has called for swift action from the UCI in order to stamp out mechanical doping and "preserve the image of cycling".

In a statement issued on the confederations website, the UEC described the incident as "a sad event [that] strikes a blow to the credibility of our sport and reminds us that our organizations must be relentless in the fight against all types of fraud, whether chemical or technological."

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The confederation, whose president, David Lappartient, is also a vice-president of the UCI, called on cycling's world governing body "to move swiftly in the coming weeks to step up strict checks before and after races, to put an end to the growing climate of suspicion and preserve the image of cycling.

"Now, more than ever, especially in an Olympic year, everything must be done to closely inspect bicycles and wheels."

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The rider, Femke Van den Driessche, is the current European under-23 cyclocross champion, and and has denied knowingly using a motorised bike, claiming instead that the bike belonged to former professional Nico Van Muylder, a friend of the Van den Driessche family.

However according to UCI regulations, it is the responsibility of the rider and team to ensure that any bike used adheres to the rules on technical fraud.

The UCI’s investigation into the incident is on-going, but Van den Driessche could face a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 Swiss francs (£13,700 to £137,000) and a minimum six-month suspension.

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