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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 joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Wookie | 237 posts | 7 years ago

In the Pro peloton I think mechanical doping is extremely unlikely as to be non existent. However in the armature, semi-pro seen and sportives I certainly wouldn’t rule it out including this Sunday on the streets and hills of London and Surrey

JeevesBath | 195 posts | 7 years ago

I shall of course assume everyone ahead of me on the local sportive is either juicing or mechanically doping. There's just no other explanation for them being faster than me...

DaveE128 | 992 posts | 7 years ago
1 like

That business about Nibali's wheel spinning after the crash is ridiculous. The wheel isn't subject to any loads, so of course it's going to keep spinning. It doesn't appear to be getting any faster, which would be suspicious.

bikeandy61 | 556 posts | 7 years ago

Hard to believe seeing as we all saw the back wheel of Nibali's bike spinni9ng when he fell off behind Froomey.


You'd think they'd at least have the sense to install a "deadman's switch"!


fukawitribe replied to bikeandy61 | 3287 posts | 7 years ago

bikeandy61 wrote:

Hard to believe seeing as we all saw the back wheel of Nibali's bike spinni9ng when he fell off behind Froomey.


You'd think they'd at least have the sense to install a "deadman's switch"!


This is why evolution can never be considered finished.

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