UCI to reveal new mechanical doping strategy on Wednesday

'We don't want to find motors in bikes; we want to show that there aren't any' says Lappartient

The UCI will reveal its news strategy to fight and deter mechanical doping at a special presentation in Geneva on Wednesday. Cyclingnews will attend the presentation and have full coverage of the announcements.

UCI president David Lappartient has said that the world governing body "doesn't want technological fraud to continue as a hot topic."

"There hasn't been a lot of trust in the UCI's strategy, and that generated suspicions. With tighter, more efficient controls we can protect the riders and their image," Lappartient told La Gazzetta dello Sport in December.

Belgian rider Femke Van Driessche remains the only cyclist to have been caught with a motor at a professional race. The device was found in her spare bike at the 2016 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships and despite protesting her innocence, she was handed a six-year ban. Since then, there have been several incidents at the amateur level including a 53-year-old in Italy, and a 43-year-old French rider in a race in the Dordogne. The Frenchman was recently sentenced to 60 hours of community service.

The UCI has used an expensive tablet device to detect the 'magnetic flux density' of possible hidden motors in recent years but a report by France Télévisions and Il Corriere della Sera demonstrated the apparent ineffectiveness of the tablet-based method, especially against the use of suspected electromagnetic wheels.

La Gazzetta dello Sport has suggested that the UCI is preparing a special vehicle fitted with an x-ray machine and CT scanner so that bikes and even wheels can be quickly checked for hidden motors. Thermal cameras in races are also expected to be used as part of a multiple strategy to fight mechanical doping.

The cost of the UCI's investment in new technologies and testing methods is estimated at €500,000 per-year by Lappartient, with a new race commissaire supervising the bike checks. The commissaire will also be in contact with the new video judge in major Classics and Grand Tours who can signal suspicious bike changes during races.

Lappartient has brought in former French rider Jean-Christophe Péraud as the new UCI Manager of Equipment. He replaced Mark Barfield, who was hired under Brian Cookson's presidency and lead the search for mechanical doping with the tablet device. Bob Stapleton, chairman of the board of USA Cycling and newly elected to the UCI Management Committee, is also part of the UCI technical commission and will be present with Lappartient and Péraud at the presentation.

"We don't want to find motors in bikes: we want to show that there aren't any," Lappartient told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday.

"We'll have new and better technology at our disposal, the best there is, to give our sport more credibility."

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