The UCI is stepping up its efforts to combat motor doping with the appointment of retired professional cyclist Jean-Christophe Péraud as its manager of equipment and the fight against technological fraud.
The 40-year-old retired in 2016 following seven seasons racing at UCI WorldTour level, the last six of those with AG2R La Mondiale.
In 2014, he finished runner-up to Vincenzo Nibali at the Tour de France, the highest placing in the race by a French rider since the late Laurent Fignon lost to Greg LeMond by just eight seconds in 1989.
Other major results included two overall wins at the Criterium International, a podium spot at Paris-Nice, and the French national time trial championship in 2009.
Before switching to the road, Péraud had spent a decade as a top-level mountain biker, picking up a silver medal in the cross-country event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics behind his compatriot, Julien Absalon.
His CV away from the bike is equally impressive.
He has a university technological diploma in chemical engineering, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in process engineering, and a diploma in energy and environmental engineering from INSA, France’s national institute of applied sciences.
While competing as an elite athlete, he also spent time working as an engineer, most recently specialising in thermal hydraulics for French energy multinational, Areva.
According to the governing body, in his new role, “Péraud will notably be in charge of the UCI’s management of approval procedures for equipment and clothing used in competition, the management of projects concerning the use of new technologies in cycling events, and the fight against technological fraud.”
UCI president David Lappartient, who succeeded Brian Cookson in September, said: “Thanks to his solid academic background, his professional career and his experience as a top athlete, he is the ideal person to work, in close collaboration with the UCI Ad Hoc Commission, on the modernisation of the current regulations and procedures covering equipment, in particular those concerning the fight against technological fraud.
“This problematic issue is one of my highest priorities. The credibility of sports results hangs on it. A detailed plan of action in this specific area will be revealed next January.”
Péraud added: “Recently retired from the peloton, I wanted to continue working for the sport I love.
“The challenge I have been offered today fulfils my wish perfectly. I will invest all my energy, and all my knowledge of and expertise in both engineering and the sport of cycling into this role.
“The UCI already has an effective policy concerning equipment and the fight against technological fraud, but I am convinced that this can still be improved. That is what I will now be working on.”
The news comes as the UCI revealed that it may investigate allegations of motor doping Fabian Cancellara made in a book by the American former professional cyclist, Phil Gaimon.
Like Péraud, both Cancellara and Gaimon retired in 2016.
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.