UCI commissaries were out checking bikes for hidden motors this weekend at Omloop Het NIeuwsblad in Belgium, reportedly scrutinising dozens of bikes from competitors in both the men’s and women’s editions of the Belgian race that kicks off the cobbled Classics season.
This video from Dutch UCI WorldTour team LottoNL-Jumbo shows how a commissaire, using a tablet computer linked to a bespoke app developed or the governing body, scans a bike.
Fietsmotor controle voor de start van Omloop het Nieuwsblad.+++++Bike motor check at the start of Omloop het Nieuwsblad.Posted by Team Lotto NL Jumbo Cycling on Saturday, 27 February 2016
As we reported last week, the Belgian cycling federation had been planning to invest up to €50,000 in its own scanning technology, but it seems the UCI will be carrying out random checks at races throughout 2016.
Philippe Marien of the UCI told the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad: ”With an iPad we can measure the cycling of magnetic waves. We use it on a scale of 1 to 10.
“At the lowest end of the scale, there is nothing to worry about.
“As soon as a 10 is registered, there is something wrong, so a further check is carried out and the bike taken apart,” he added.
He said the UCI is keen to push the technology further and is in discussions with companies developing more advanced ways of combating technological fraud.
Rumours of riders cheating by using concealed motors in their frames had been around for several years, but the discovery of one hidden inside a bike prepped for Belgian under-23 rider Femke Van den Driessche at the recent UCI World Cyclo-Cross Championships is the first time one has been found in competition.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.