And it finally happened, the first technological fraud in cycling tournaments. A motor was installed inside the frame of a bike that was being used at cyclocross world championships in Zolder, Belgium. The cyclist Femke Van den Driessche is 19 years old and has denied the news by saying that she was not aware of this and the bike wasn’t even hers but of a friend’s. The bike she used had a similar motor assist feature as this biycle:
The cycling governing body, Union Cycliste International (UCI), confirmed the presence of a motor inside the 19-year old’s bike and said that it “believe[d] it was indeed technological doping.” The bike in question is an Italian make from the company Wilier Triestina and the company has stated that it will be suing Van den Driessche. UCI President, Brian Cookson said, “It’s absolutely clear that there was technological fraud — there was a concealed motor.”
Although the motor hidden inside the body might not be able to provide a large boost, but it can provide just enough to help a cyclist out during a climb or during the last stretch of the race putting him/her in the lead. UCI is further investigative this ‘technological doping’ and according to the reports so far, a radio-frequency detecting tablet was used for identifying the power course. Belgian national team coach, Rudy De Bie said, “I feel really terrible. This is a disgrace. I never imagined something like this would happen to our team. Why would a rider do this?”
This is quite an alarming incident and UCI is taking important decisions and steps to ensure that no such practice happens again. In fact, UCI checks the winning bikes for any evidence of motors as a standard protocol now.
Van den Driessche admits that she understands she is in big trouble but also said that she was not afraid of an inquiry because she hasn’t done anything wrong. She claims that the bike was identical to hers but belonged to her friend and not her. She denied that she was aware of the motor inside the bike. It would be unwise to hold the cyclist responsible until the results of the investigations are disclosed. Till that happens, let’s hope that everything works out for the best!