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Mechanical doping: No hidden motors found at Tour de France, says UCI

Nearly 4,000 controls carried out during three-week race

The UCI says that no hidden motors were discovered during this year’s Tour de France despite an unprecedented level of testing during all 21 stages of the three-week race, won by Team Sky’s Chris Froome.

In all, 3,773 unannounced controls were conducted on bikes belonging to the 20 teams taking part. They were undertaken using the same app and tablet-based magnetic resistance technology.

That’s the same technology which earlier this year found a hidden motor in one of Belgian under-23 rider Femke Van Den Driessche’s bikes at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships.

Testing took place before and after stages and even during them with the help of thermal imaging equipment, and x-ray scanners were also used – both those technologies being deployed for the first time at a bike race.

UCI president Brian Cookson commented: “I want to thank the UCI staff for its hard work and dedication in testing so many bikes over the past three weeks.

“This demonstrates our absolute commitment to leave no stone unturned in a matter that if not tackled properly, could seriously damage the renewed reputation of cycling.

“I would also like to thank the riders, the teams, the organiser of this year’s Tour, as well as the French police – in particular the Office Central de la Lutte contre les Atteintes à l’Environnement et à la Santé Publique (OCLAESP) – for their co-operation and support.

“We will continue to test bikes heavily throughout the rest of the season, and do everything in our power to make sure this form of cheating stays out of our sport,” he added.

Last week, Astana threatened legal action after claims were made on social media that its rider Vincenzo Nibali, Tour de France champion in 2014, may have been using a hidden motor when his rear wheel was shown spinning after he crashed on a wet descent on Stage 19.

> Astana threatens legal action after Vincenzo Nibali accused of mechanical doping

The Kazakh outfit said: “In relation with the suspects about the Vincenzo Nibali's rear wheel rotation during his fall in today's stage at Tour de France, the Astana Pro Team informs that during the three weeks of race we have been subjected to the UCI checks daily, always resulting perfectly in order.”

> All our mechanical doping coverage

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.

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