The UCI has not convinced fans that motor-doping doesn’t exist, according to Jean-Christophe Péraud.
The Frenchman, who worked as the UCI’s lead investigator on mechanical cheating, says he is convinced the practice is not present at cycling’s highest level.
Péraud, second-place finisher in the 2014 Tour de France before his retirement in 2016, served as the governing body’s ‘manager of equipment and the fight against technological fraud’ until he was dismissed in late June, according to L’Equipe. (opens in new tab)
Last month, the French authorities announced they had stopped investigating mechanical doping.
The UCI has responded by saying the fight against technological fraud has been a priority in recent year.
Péraud said: “I’m aware there’s no cheating at the highest level of competition.”
“[But] the UCI has not succeeded in guaranteeing to the general public that this cheating doesn’t exist. There’s nothing more difficult than proving something that doesn’t exists and there’s still doubt in the mind of the public.”
French police carried out a two-year investigation after Femke Van den Driessche had been caught at the World Cyclocross Championships in 2016, the first high-level rider to ever test positive for having a bike with an engine in it, while a 42-year-old amateur was then caught in a smaller race in October 2017.
However, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) has now closed the case, report l’Équipe, while the UCI has also concluded its partnership with the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), who had been developing miniature thermal scanners to detect motors.
Last year, the UCI announced it had carried out 1,300 “rigorous” motor doping tests at the Giro d’Italia, using magnetic scanning and X-ray technology to monitor bikes.
During the three weeks of the Giro, 1,312 tests were carried out before stages using magnetic scanners and a further 113 X-ray tests were held at the finish lines.
All the tests came back negative.
Péraud’s role has now been made redundant by the UCI, he told French media, due to cost-cutting within the international governing body.
A statement from the UCI said: "The fight against technological fraud has been one of the priorities of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for several years. The integrity of our competition results and the reputation of our sport are at stake. Increased resources have been deployed with the arrival of David Lappartient as President of our Federation."
The organisation confirmed that Péraud had been let go due to save money, adding: "The UCI will continue to seek to innovate, develop and invest to combat new and future technologies which compromise our sport’s integrity.
"We salute the expertise and commitment of Jean-Christophe Péraud over these two and a half years, thank him for his contribution to the credibility of our sport, and wish him every success in his future responsibilities.”
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