Cycling great Eddy Merckx says those caught cheating with motors in their bikes should serve lifetime bans from the sport. Read the story by Velonews
UCI president Brian Cookson confirmed on Sunday that a Belgian cyclist had been caught cheating at cyclocross world championships, using a concealed motor on a bike being. Femke Van den Driessche, an athlete in the under-23 category is the first rider to be snared by the UCI’s bike checks in a top-level competition.
Femke van den Driessche responds: “It wasn’t my bike, it was that of a friend and was identical to mine,” a tearful Van den Driessche told Belgian TV channel Sporza. “This friend went around the course Saturday before dropping off the bike in the truck. A mechanic, thinking it was my bike, cleaned it and prepared it for my race”…
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“Italian manufacturer Wilier Triestina says it will sue the Belgian cyclist who used a motor on her bike at the cyclo-cross world championships in the latest scandal to rock the sport.”
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ZOLDER, Belgium (VN) — In what appears to be a first in cycling, the International Cycling Union confirmed that it had impounded the bike of Belgian rider Femke van den Driessche following the women’s under-23 championship race Saturday. Van den Driessche was a pre-race favorite, thanks to solid results in the World Cup and a stunning second-place finish at the Koppenbergcross, one of the most difficult races on the calendar, in November.
In an interview with Belgian TV network Sporza, Peter Van den Abeele, UCI’s off-road manager, said the bike was caught thanks to new technology the UCI has been developing for several years. “For the UCI, this is the first time we have established a technical fraud and for us that’s a downer. Most people are bewildered [by this].
“Was this a specific control? We’ve been doing tests for a while now at the world championships. In recent years, there’s been some hoopla, and we’ve adapted the technology. The people of the UCI’s technology commission were here in force with good equipment.”
A separate report on Sporza filled in some of the apparent details of what exactly happened.
“After one lap of the world championships, UCI took Femke’s bike in the pit area and tested it with some sort of tablet,” said Sporza journalist Maarten Vangramberen. “The bike was immediately sealed and taken. The UCI then called in the Belgian federation. When the saddle was removed, there were electrical cables in the seat tube. When they wanted to remove the bottom bracket, which is normally not difficult, they could not because the crank was stuck. Inside there was a motor.”
A report in the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, meanwhile, quoted her father as saying that the bike in question was not used in competition.
“It’s not Femke’s bike,” he reportedly said. “Someone from her team, who sometimes trains with her, brought the bike to the pit. But it was never the intention that she would ride it. … Femke has absolutely not used that bike in the race. We are strongly affected by what’s happened. Femke is totally upside-down.”
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