Up until this point, the idea of mechanical doping has been dismissed by most as hilariously preposterous. Not the idea that the concept exists, but the fact that any pro would ever dare to attempt it. Products like the Gruber, now Vivax Assist that hide an electric motor inside the seat tube which powers a gear on the crank spindle have added fuel to the fire, that while preposterous, it could be possible.
That possibility is what has led the UCI to develop new screening protocols to potentially catch any mechanical doping in action. Like previous allegations, the rumor is now that the UCI is investigating the team of a female racer in the U23 World Championship race for “technological fraud.” Outlets like Sporza are reporting at lot more detail than has been officially released by the UCI, which is where the mention of an electric motor and wires comes into play.
Currently, the UCI hasn’t announced that they have actually found a motor in any bike, or even who that bike would belong to, but promise more details to come…
From the UCI:
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that pursuant to the UCI’s Regulations on technological fraud a bike has been detained for further investigation following checks at the Women’s Under 23 race of the 2016 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. This does not concern any of the riders on the podium. Further details will be shared in due course.
Later updates have confirmed that women’s U-23 rider Femke van den Driessche from the Belgian team had a spare bike with a motor found in the pits at the race and is being investigated for ‘technological fraud’.
UCI President Brian Cookson told journalists at the race that “it was a concealed motor, no secrets about that”, and spoke about the UCI’s determined testing of what many thought was a wild goose chase: “We will be testing more bikes, more often, more frequently. Our message to those choosing to cheat is that we will catch up with you sooner or later. We are committed to protecting the riders that do not want to cheat and to make sure that the right riders win the races.”