Wilier Triestina threatens legal action over motorised cross bike

Italian manufacturer outraged after Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche was found with a motor in a bike at the cyclocross Worlds on Saturday

Italian bike manufacturer Wilier Triestina has said that it will take legal action against the rider who was found to have a motor contained in their bike at the Cyclocross World Championships on Saturday.

Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche pulled out of the under-23 women’s race after she broke a chain on one of her Wilier bikes, as a spare bike was meanwhile being searched by the UCI for a hidden motor.

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“Our Company will take legal action against the athlete and against any responsible for this very serious matter,” said CEO Andrea Gastaldello in a statement, “in order to safeguard the good name and image of the company, marked by professionalism and seriousness in 110 years of history”.

Cycling’s governing body reportedly used a tablet computer that reads radio frequencies to find the hidden motor, which could see Van den Driessche receive a minimum ban of six months.

Wilier, which supplies bikes to the 19-year-old’s Kleur Op Maat trade team, released a statement on Sunday distancing itself from the matter, saying the news was a “bolt from the blue.”

“We are literally shocked,” said Gastaldello.

“As the main technical partner, we want to distance from this act absolutely contrary to the basic values of our company, and with the principles of each sporting competition.

“Really unacceptable that the photos of our bike is making the rounds of the international media due to this unpleasant fact.

“We work every day to bring worldwide the quality of our products and when we know that a Wilier Triestina’s bike is meanly tampered we’re very sad.”

The motor found on Saturday is the first to be found since the UCI stepped up checks for ‘mechanical doping’ in recent seasons, and carries a punishment of a 200,000 Euro fine as well as a minimum six-month ban.

Van den Driessche has continued to deny any knowledge of the motor, claiming it was a friend’s bike that should never have been used.