The UCI announced Saturday that a bike has been detained following the U23 women's event at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Heusden-Zolder. According to a statement from the UCI, the bike in question was not ridden by any of the riders who earned a medal and it will provide further details in due process. However, the Belgian Cycling Federation confirmed to Sporza that the detained bike belonged to European and Belgium's U23 champion Femke Van den Driessche (Team Kleur op Maat).
The full statement from the UCI read, "The International Cycling Union confirms that pursuant to the UCI's Regulations on technological fraud a bike has been detained for further investigation following checks at the Women's Under 23 race of the 2016 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. This does not concern any of the riders on the podium. Further details will be shared in due course."
The UCI added a new clause covering "technological fraud" to its regulations last January 30, which pertains to bikes that do not comply with Article 1.3.010 of the regulations handbook. The penalty includes race disqualification, suspension for a minimum of six months and a fine of between 20,000 and 200,000 Swiss Francs.
The technological fraud article 12.1.013 fully states:
"Technological fraud is an infringement to article 1.3.010. Technological fraud is materialised by:
"The presence, within or on the margins of a cycling competition, of a bicycle that does not comply with the provisions of article 1.3.010. The use by a rider, within or on the margins of a cycling competition, of a bicycle that does not comply with the provisions of article 1.3.010. All teams must ensure that all their bicycles are in compliance with the provisions of article 1.3.010. Any presence of a bicycle that does not comply with the provisions of article 1.3.010, within or on the margins of a cycling competition, constitutes a technological fraud by the team and the rider.
"All riders must ensure that any bicycle that they use is in compliance with the provisions of article 1.3.010. Any use by a rider of a bicycle that does not comply with the provisions of article 1.3.010, within or on the margins of a cycling competition, constitutes a technological fraud by the team and the rider.
Any technological fraud shall be sanctioned as follows:
1. Rider: disqualification, suspension of a minimum of six months and a fine of between CHF 20'000 and CHF 200’000.
2. Team: disqualification, suspension of a minimum of six months and a fine of between CHF 100'000 and CHF 1’000’000.
Although it has been reported that the bike detained belonged to Van den Driessche, the UCI has not implicated her or her team and said it is still investigating. In light of the reports, however, bike manufacturer Wilier Triestina, that sponsors Team Kleur op Maat, has tried to distance themselves from the situation.
The company sent out a press release with a quote from CEO Andrea Gastaldello that stated, "We are literally stunned, as the main technical partner, it seems only right to distance themselves from this gesture very much in contrast to the basic values of our company, and with the principles behind every sporting competition.
"Really unacceptable that in these hours the picture of our bikes is doing the rounds of international media because of this unfortunate fact. We work daily to bring to the world the quality of our products and knowing that a Wilier Triestina bike is meanly tampered saddens us very much.
"In fact, our society reserves to take legal action against the athlete and any responsible for this very serious matter, in order to safeguard the good name and image of the company, marked by professionalism and seriousness in 110 years of history."
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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