Van den Driessche stops defence against mechanical doping charge

Femke van den Driessche (Belgium)

Femke van den Driessche (Belgium) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

19-year-old Belgian cyclo-cross racer Femke Van den Driessche has opted not to fight the UCI in its case against her for mechanical doping after officials found a motor in one of the bikes with her pit crew at the World Championships in January. Instead, she has decided to quit the sport.

Van den Driessche maintains that the bike belonged to a friend and was mistakenly taken to the pits by her support team. Nico Van Muylder, a former racer, claimed ownership of the bike.

The UCI could serve Van den Driessche with at least a six-month ban and a fine of 20,000 Swiss Francs, but some had been calling for a more severe punishment, including a lifetime ban, to make an example of her. 

"After consulting with my lawyers and my family, I have decided to discontinue my defence at the hearing in Aigle," she said, according to

"I have decided for myself to stop cyclo-cross," she said, adding that the public had already decided her case anyhow. "The costs of the meeting in Switzerland will be too high for me. An acquittal is impossible, the bike was in my pit zone."

Van den Driessche thanked her attorneys, friends and supporters, and asked the public to respect her wishes to live her life in peace.

The UCI first began investigating rumours that motors had been used to enhance performance in 2010, but after thousands of checks no device discoveries have been made public until that of Van den Driessche.

Update: The UCI have announced that the hearing went ahead on March 15, releasing a statement that read "A decision will be rendered and announced in due course and until then, the UCI will not be making any further comment."

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