Van den Driessche handed six-year ban for mechanical doping

UCI announces sanction in first such case

Femke Van den Driessche has been banned for six years for mechanical doping, the UCI announced Tuesday. The ban is backdated to October 11, 2015, and she must also pay a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs.

"Ms. Femke Van den Driessche is found to have committed a violation of art.1.3.010 in combination with art.12.013bis (Technological fraud) of the UCI regulations," the UCI said in its press release.

"This decision follows the discovery of a concealed electric motor in one of the rider’s bikes during checks at the Women Under 23 race of the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in January 2016. The bike concerned was scanned using the new magnetic resonance testing deployed this year by the UCI. This detected the motor whilst the bike was in the rider’s pit area. The motor was a Vivax which was concealed along with a battery in the seat-tube. It was controlled by a Bluetooth switch installed underneath the handlebar tape."

The suspension runs from October 11, 2015, through October 10, 2021. All her results since that time shall be disqualified, "notably Under 23 European Champion title and Under 23 Belgian Champion title)". Dutch rider Maud Kaptheijns is likely to be awarded the U23 European title having finished second to Van den Driessche, and Laura Verdonschot the Belgian national title.

She was ordered to return all medals and prize monies, and pay a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs, as well as the costs of the UCI proceedings.

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