In the wake of discovering a hidden motor inside the bike of Belgian U23 rider, Femke Van den Driessche, during the recent Cyclocross World Championships, the UCI is considering stepping up its enforcement in the fight against mechanical doping, by making bike checks during the middle of races.
UCI president Brian Cookson insists that the world governing body “is on the ball” when it comes to “technological fraud” and even considering drastic new testing procedures.
“The technology that we have now allows testing perhaps not literally on the move, but it’s very flexible, it’s very lightweight,” said Cookson at the World Track Championships in London this weekend.
“It can even be attached to an iPhone, certainly an iPad. We will be testing before, after and, if necessary, during (races) from time to time.
“We have an open mind at looking at the opportunities for that. We will maybe have a commissaire on a motorbike who will stop with a rider who is changing a bike.
“We’ll look for suspicious and intelligence-led solutions, as we are doing in the anti-doping field. We have a small anti-doping intelligence testing function, looking at connections between anti-doping agencies’ information, from customs, governments, police authorities.
“That approach we’re spreading to mechanical, technological fraud as well.”
Cookson insisted that the UCI’s investigations will cover all disciplines of the sport.
“At the moment we’re looking at a random system, but all of the events, all of the bikes will be checked as they go on,” he said.
“I’m not saying 100 percent, every bike will be tested, but I think you can be assured every medalist here will have had their bike tested.”
Van den Driessche is still to have her punishment handed out for the offense, with Cookson calling for her to be dealt with in the strongest possible way.
“The UCI has requested extremely stiff penalties. It’s fair to say that, in something like this, not just the rider can be sanctioned and will be involved.”
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