UCI check ten teams for mechanical doping at Paris-Roubaix

Race bikes and spare bikes checked for hidden motors

UCI officials carried out checks for mechanical doping on the bikes of ten teams at the start of Paris-Roubaix in Compiègne, using the same blue tablet device used in recent months. 

The UCI officials appeared to work in teams of three, using the tablets to check race bikes lined up by the team buses as well as spare bikes on top of the team cars. Cyclingnews observed them carefully using the blue tablet to check frames, cranks and wheels of each bike.

The UCI has been guarded about the technology for the checks but the blue tablet seems able to detect magnet fields, showing a message after each movement of the tablet. Doubts have been raised about the effectiveness of the tablet, especially if the bikes are not in motion. However, the UCI claim they are able to detect hidden motors in the seat posts and any kind of magnet system that could be hidden in the wheels.

Cyclingnews understands that the teams checked before the start of Paris-Roubaix were Orica-GreenEdge, Lampre-Merida, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, Direct Energie, Cannondale, Movistar, Ag2r-La Mondiale and Delko-Marseille. UCI officials explained that they took into account which teams had been tested in previous races when choosing who to check at Paris-Roubaix. Other checks are expected to after the finish of the race, including the bikes of the riders that finish in the top three. The UCI later confirmed that a total of 196 bikes were checked, plus 27 bikes from the Junior race that finished a few hours before the men's race. 

Cyclingnews filmed the UCI officials carrying out the bike checks on the Scott bikes belonging to the Orica-GreenEdge team and witnessed other controls at different team buses at the start.

The UCI has increased the number of bike controls in recent months and especially after a hidden motor was discovered at the cyclo-cross world championships in the bike belonging to Belgian Under 23 rider Femke Van den Driessche. She risks a significant fine and a long ban from the sport if found guilty of techonological fraud. Her disciplinary hearing has been held with a final sentence expected to be revealed by the UCI soon. Van den Driessche has already confirmed she has quit cycling.

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