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Tour de France to continue thermal imaging checks for mechanical doping

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The UCI has been using thermal imaging to check bikes for mechanical doping.

The UCI has been using thermal imaging to check bikes for mechanical doping.
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UCI officials were using one of the FLIR TG's model thermal cameras to detect mechanical doping mid-race from the back of a motorbike

UCI officials were using one of the FLIR TG's model thermal cameras to detect mechanical doping mid-race from the back of a motorbike
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The UCI checked for mechanical doping at the Tour Down Under

The UCI checked for mechanical doping at the Tour Down Under
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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An image from the Corriere della Sera report on mechanical doping

An image from the Corriere della Sera report on mechanical doping
(Image credit: Corriere della Sera)
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A UCI inspector examines bikes to detect hidden motors ahead of stage 4 at the 2016 Tour de France

A UCI inspector examines bikes to detect hidden motors ahead of stage 4 at the 2016 Tour de France

A partnership between the French government and the Tour de France organisers has been extended to continue the use of thermal imaging cameras developed by the country's Atomic Energy Commission (French Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, CEA) in 2017 to detect possible mechanical doping, according to L'Equipe.

The cameras, which are portable and can be used from the road side or in the Tour de France convoy, can detect heat signatures emanating from motors hidden inside wheels or frames. They were first used last season in conjunction with the UCI's existing magnetic resonance screening for motors, which is carried out using tablets at stage starts and finishes.

Since a motor was found in a pit bike belonging to Belgian U23 cyclo-cross racer Femke Van Den Driessche at last year's world championships, there has been increasing speculation that the fraudulent bikes have also been used in professional road races.

Inventor Istvan Varjas has promised that a soon-to-be-aired television investigative report will provide 'major revelations'.

The Secretary of State for Sports, Thierry Braillard, announced the renewal of its agreement with the Tour de France organisers ASO late last week.

According to L'Equipe, during the same parliamentary session, there were two amendments put forth to criminalize mechanical doping, but these were rejected.