As far-flung as the topic of mechanical doping has sounded to many over the last few months, the UCI’s technical manager, Mark Barfield, believes motorized bikes may have infiltrated the pro peloton in the past – prior to the governing body’s introduction of standardized checks in 2014.
However, during a recent interview with Australian cycling site, Cycling Tips, Barfield said he doesn’t think mechanical doping is currently a problem, as the introduction of improved testing by the UCI, has served to combat the problem.
“I’ve done a lot of work in the past 10 month on this. I’ve spoken to a lot of engineers. I’ve tested 75 bikes this year for motors. I don’t believe any current WorldTour rider or team would be currently cheating on a product like this.”
According to Barfield, testing is set to continue into next season, with the UCI introducing an improved method, that will see commisaires able to check a greater number of bikes across a wider range of categories and disciplines.
“All I can tell you is it’s based on magnetic resistance. There is a lot of work to be done. We’ve done our first trial and we have more trials in February. Its first outing, fingers crossed, will be the World Cyclocross Championships.
“The testing we will have will be so easy to use that every commissaire will be able to use it. So [testing] will be able to go on far beyond the WorldTour races.
“We’ll probably do our first test in women’s racing next year because we need to extend. We now have the ability to test more bikes more often.”
Accusations regarding mechanical doping were first brought to light in 2010, when Fabian Cancellara was accused of riding a motorized bike during his victories in that year’s Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Since then, there have been persistent rumours and accusations of mechanical doping in the pro peloton.
For example, Alberto Contador found himself fending-off accusations that he rode a motorized bike during this year’s Giro d’Italia, along with Movistar, who had to deflect a social media storm of rumors during September’s Vuelta a España, after being accused of “hiding” a broken motorized bike.
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