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UCI to scan for "mechanical doping" motors during Tour de France after Chris Boardman visit

British legend shows sports officials how motors can be concealed within frames

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.”


Simon has been news editor at 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.

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