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Bike's Hidden Motor Constitutes 'Technological Fraud,' Cycling Officials Say

Image: Bike's Hidden Motor Constitutes 'Technological Fraud,' Cycling Officials Say
Belgian Femke Van Den Driessche races during the women's U23 race at the world championships cyclocross cycling, in Heusden-Zolder, on January 30, 2016. A concealed motor was later found on the bike, the head of the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on January 31. (York Jansens/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 01 Feb 2016 10:14 AM

A bike was found to have a hidden motor on it during a major cycling race Saturday, prompting race officials to confiscate the bicycle for further investigation.

The bicycle reportedly belongs to 19-year-old Belgian Femke van den Driessche, the pre-race favorite in the women's under-23 competition and the European champion, according to The Guardian. An inspector found what was believed to be a small motor in the bottom bracket of the bike at the world Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder, Belgium.

Cycling Weekly reported that the Union Cycliste Internationale had been inspecting bicycles during the competition Saturday when van den Driessche's bike came into question for what was called "mechanical doping."

"The Union Cycliste Internationale confirms that pursuant to the UCI's regulations on technological fraud (that) 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," a union statement said.

"This does not concern any of the riders on the podium. Further details will be shared in due course," the statement continued.

Van den Driessche had decided not to race because of a "mechanical issue" shortly before her bicycle was inspected, Belgian media outlet Sporza reported, according to The Guardian. Her father later disputed the allegations in the newspaper Het Nieuwsbald.

"It's not Femke's bike," he said, according to The Guardian. "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."

The Guardian reported that van den Driessche could be suspended for a minimum of six months and fined from 20,000 to 200,000 Swiss francs ($19,600 to $196,200) if the "technological fraud" charge is confirmed.

The cycling union had been scanning bicycles at the Tour de France and other major competitions for mechanical devices since rumors broke about such tools in recent years but Saturday's discovery is believed to be the first time one was found in a competition, according to Sky News.

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A bike was found to have a hidden motor on it during a major cycling race Saturday, prompting race officials to confiscate the bicycle for further investigation.
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2016-14-01
Monday, 01 Feb 2016 10:14 AM
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