Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, will be using scanners to check riders’ bike frames for motors ahead of this years 94th edition of the Tour de France, which gets under way in Rotterdam in two weeks’ time, with British track and road legend Chris Boardman having reportedly demonstrated to officials just how such a device could work in practice.
The UCI’s announcement follows recent claims that cyclists including World and Olympic Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara, winner of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in April, were employing “mechanical doping” to gain an edge over their rivals, accusations that the Swiss cyclist and his Team Saxo Bank firmly deny.
Recently, Boardman, who throughout a racing career that brought him World and Olympic titles, the Hour record and stints in the Tour de France yellow jersey, became noted for his interest in the design process and rigorous attention to detail, met with the UCI to outline how it was possible to incorporate motors within bicycle frames, according to the BBC.
The UCI reached its decision at a meeting of its Management Committee in Birmingham which took place last Thursday and Friday. In a press release on its website, it said: “The members of the Management Committee discussed issues concerning equipment used in road competitions and decided that it was necessary to bolster measures that have already been put in place (in particular the visual inspection of bicycles, a procedure that was recently reinforced).
“As a result, a scanner will be used from the time of the Tour de France. This instrument, recently tested with a successful outcome, will allow an official to detect any illegal devices that may be concealed, for example, in the bicycle frame.”
The UCI added that it was planning to collaborate with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne “to examine ways to control, in an optimal manner, the influence of technology over the equipment used in cycling, such that this could offer a beneficial contribution to the sport and avoid any future deviations.”
It also said that “from now on race service will be subject to stricter regulation in order to ensure that only equipment that has been checked at the start or finish can be used during competitions.”
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.