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Belgian rider says she has no chance of winning case and has given up cyclocross

Femke Van den Driessche says she is dropping her defence in the case the UCI has opened against her after finding a concealed motor in a bike at the Cyclo-cross World Championships in January, and that she has given up the sport.

The 19-year-old Belgian had been due to appear before the UCI's Disciplinary Commission in Aigle, Switzerland tomorrow, with the governing body's president Brian Cookson saying earlier this month that it would press for a severe sanction,

Even though the rider insisted the bike belonged to a friend and it had been mistakenly prepared for her, the discovery of it in the pits area constitutes an offence and one for which the rules provide no excuse.

Facing a minimum ban of six months - and much longer in all probabilty - as well as a fine totalling tens of thousands of euro, Van den Driessche has decided to throw in the towel, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

In a statement, she said: "After consulting with my lawyers and my family, I have decided to discontinue my defence at the hearing in Aigle.

"I have decided for myself to stop cyclo-cross. The costs of the meeting in Switzerland will be too high for me. An acquittal is impossible, the bike was in my pit zone.

"I thank all the people who supported me and still support - my lawyers, friends and supporters," she added.

"I want to continue my life in peace and serenity and hope that everyone will have some understanding for this and will respect this."
 

 

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.