Mechanical doping: Femke Van den Driessche gets 6-year ban
Femke Van den Driessche has been banned from cycling for six years.
The decision follows the discovery of a concealed electric motor in one of the rider’s bikes during checks at the Women Under 23 race of the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in January 2016. The bike concerned was scanned using the new magnetic resonance testing deployed this year by the UCI. This detected the motor whilst the bike was in the rider’s pit area. The motor was a Vivax which was concealed along with a battery in the seat-tube. It was controlled by a Bluetooth switch installed underneath the handlebar tape.
Over 100 bikes were scanned at the event and this new method of testing has proven in trials to be extremely effective in locating hidden motors or other forms of technological fraud as it quickly detects motors, magnetic fields and solid objects concealed in a frame or components.
The UCI has tested bikes at many races in different disciplines this year (for example 274 at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London, 216 at the Tour of Flanders, 232 at Paris-Roubaix, 173 at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège). It will continue to test heavily in all disciplines throughout the year.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “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.”