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Bikes to be scanned after Tour de France stages

Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme. (Image credit: AFP Photo)

The Tour de France will see the debut of new measures to combat the threat of riders cheating with motorized bikes. From Saturday’s prologue onwards, UCI commissaires will choose a certain number of riders at the finish of every stage to have their bikes scanned for the presence of any kind of motorized assistance.

According to L’Équipe, “one, five or fifteen” riders will be selected for scanning each day, according to the type of stage in question.

The scanning equipment will function much like an airport scanner and will offer an x-ray of the interior of the frame. Should any sort of anomaly be detected, the bike will be confiscated and the rider in question expelled from the race.

“It’s great that the UCI has taken this decision,” said Tour director Christian Prudhomme. “The videos are compelling but anything can be done with video. Since the system exists, everything must be done to make sure it is not used.”

Prudhomme was referring to Davide Cassani's report on the technology on Italian station RAI and to recent YouTube footage suggesting that Fabian Cancellara may have used such technology to assist his victories in April’s Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Both Cancellara and his Saxo Bank team have strenuously denied such claims.

At Thursday’s Saxo Bank press conference, Cancellara was keen to make light of the implementation of bike scanning, saying “If the scanner manufacturers arranging it and if that helps them to make some money, then…”

It is not clear at this point if riders will be specifically targeted for scanning or if the tests will be performed at random.

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