Femke Van den Driessche has been suspended from competition by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for six years after an electric motor was discovered in one of her bikes during the 2016 Cyclo-cross World Championships.
The UCI announced on Tuesday that its Disciplinary Commission has banned the 19-year-old for six years for violating its rules relating to ‘technical fraud’. She has also been fined CHF 20,000 (approximately £14,000), and has been ordered to pay costs of the proceedings against her.
“Ms Femke Van den Driessche is found to have committed a violation of art. 1.3.010 in combination with art. 12.013bis (Technological fraud) of the UCI Regulations,” said the UCI statement.
“Ms Femke Van den Driessche is suspended for a period of six years starting from and including October 11, 2015 and ending on October 10, 2021.”
In addition to the suspension and fine, Van den Driessche will be disqualified from all races starting from October 11 2015, and will have to return all prizes and prize money.
The concealed motor was discovered in Van den Driessche’s spare bike in the pit area during the under-23 women’s race at the 2016 cyclo-cross Worlds in January.
UCI inspectors used a magnetic resonance scanner to detect the motor, which it reports was a Vivax unit and battery concealed in the seat tube.
The motor was activated by a wireless Bluetooth switch hidden in the bar tape.
It was the first time that a motor had been discovered in a bike during a competition.
UCI president Brian Cookson commented: “We have invested considerable resources in developing this new and highly effective scanning technology and also in strengthening the sanctions applicable to anyone found cheating in this way.
“This case is a major victory for the UCI and all those fans, riders and teams who want to be assured that we will keep this form of cheating out of our sport.”