The European Cycling Union (UEC) has called on the UCI to take ‘fast, tough and effective action’ in light of the first confirmed case of motorised doping just over a week ago. In a statement issued over the weekend, the UEC – which is headed by UCI Vice President David Lappartient - also confirmed that they would develop an action plan that will be later submitted to the UCI for consideration.
During the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder at the end of January, UCI inspectors confirmed they found a motor in the bike of 19-year-old Femke Van den Driessche. The discovery is the first of its kind since the UCI implemented bike checks in 2015 and is a major landmark in the sport’s history. The UCI has yet to take any kind of discipline action.
“The European Cycling Union urges the UCI to move swiftly in the coming weeks, to step up strict checks before and after races, to put an end to the growing climate of suspicion and preserve the image of cycling,” the UEC statement reads. “This sad event strikes a blow to the credibility of our sport, and reminds us that our organizations must be relentless in the fight against all types of fraud, whether chemical or technological. We must be intransigent in the defence of our values.”
Van den Driessche has denied that the bike the motor was found in belonged to her, saying that it belonged to Nico Van Muylder. The case will now be brought in front of a disciplinary commission and Van den Driessche and anyone else found guilty could be handed at least a six-month ban and a 20,000 Swiss Franc fine.
“It goes without saying that the cyclist in question shall be called to a UCI disciplinary hearing to answer for her actions. But beyond this, it is essential to determine how such fraud occurred and who the accomplices were,” continued the statement.
“Because the accused cyclist is a European champion, and given the considerable harm that this affair has caused to our sport in general and European cycling in particular, the UCI is consulting with legal counsel to see what action can be taken, and against whom.”
The UEC concluded their statement putting pressure on the UCI to do more in their fight against motorised doping and said that they would show the governing body their own action plan to help combat the problem.
“Now, more than ever, especially in an Olympic year, everything must be done to closely inpsect bicycles and wheels, as the European Cycling Union first proposed on 20 July 2015.The European Cycling Union is developing an action plan, to be examined at our annual meeting in March 2016, and then submitted to the UCI. The aim is to effectively prevent all types of fraud. Any attempt at cheating threatens the very lifeblood of our sport.”
Listen to the Cyclingnews Podcast on motorised doping and what it means to the sport below, with insight from Bradley Wiggins, Christine Majerus and Typhoon Bicycles CEO Harry Gibbings.