Mechanical doping has been rumoured to be present in professional cycling, but only confirmed when a motor was found in a U23 woman's bike at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in January. Today, the professional riders union, the CPA, says its members are all in favor of harsh punishment for anyone caught cheating in this manner. However, CPA President Gianni Bugno says the problem is far from the pro road peloton.
"It is out of discussion that whoever is cheating during competition must be heavily punished," Bugno said. "The riders are all in favor of this and they are the first ones to show interest to unmask those who act unfairly, whether they are riders, mechanicals, or other team members."
Chris Froome called on the UCI to increase its checks for motors while at the Herald Sun Tour earlier this month after the UCI discovered a motor in a bike at Worlds with Belgian rider Femke Van den Dreissche's pit crew. She claimed no knowledge of the bike, and said it belonged to a friend and was mistakenly brought to the pits.
Bugno supported the efforts of the sport's governing body, and promised cooperation from the riders. "We are convinced that the UCI is doing its best to improve and refine the controls and we hope there will be a progress, with the cooperation of manufacturers, in order to remove any doubt about the athletes' performances. We, too, within our association, are looking for solutions to make controls the most precise and quick as possible and we know we can count on the full cooperation of the riders."
Earlier this month, Gazzetta dello Sport quoted a source as saying that motors in bike frames is old technology, and said the real enhancements are coming thanks to magnetic devices in wheels, similar to the maglev technology used in trains.
Bugno steered the blame away from the current pro peloton. "I do not agree to point the finger at the peloton every time that something that puts a bad light on our sport happens. That is the reason I did not want to join the chorus of those who have launched accusations without proposing solutions to the problem. Indeed, I do not think even we could define this a real problem because it is far away from touching the honest riders that fight daily with their opponents in a sporting way."