British Tour de France champion Chris Froome backs more checks for concealed electric motors

Tour de France champion Chris Froome has said that his bikes have been dismantled and checked for concealed electric motors on at least a dozen occasions, and he backs more checks for ‘mechanical doping’ in future.

Talking ahead of the Herald Sun Tour in Australia this week, the 30-year-old British Team Sky rider gave his take on the news that a bike had been discovered to contain a hidden motor at the Cyclocross World Championships in Belgium at the weekend.

“For the last few years now, there have been rumours about motors being concealed within the bikes,” said Froome.

“Over the last couple of seasons, my bike has been checked and dismantled at least a dozen times.”

Froome’s bike was one of those examined during the 2015 Tour, which he went on to win.

>>> Everything you need to know about the motorised doping scandal

Cycle sport’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has taken the rumours of hidden motors seriously since they surfaced in 2010. It was via a newly-introduced electromagnetic field detector to back up visual checks that the electric motor was discovered in under-23 racer Femke Van den Driessche’s bike in Belgium.

“They [the UCI] are taking the threat seriously and, hopefully, this will mean they only increase the number of checks they do on the WorldTour level,” said Froome.

“At the moment, we only have rumours to go on,” he said.

“All I can hope is the authorities take this matter really seriously and implement more and more random controls – throughout cycling.

>>> Owner of electric bike seized during Cyclocross World Championships revealed

“That’s the only way forward; the same way that the authorities have approached doping.”

Now that the UCI has found a concealed motor in a bike at a top-level competition, proving that the technology not only exists but is in use, the level of checks are likely to increase.

At a press conference held after the discovery of the concealed motor in Belgium, UCI president Brian Cookson said: “Technological fraud is unacceptable. We want the minority who may consider cheating to know that, increasingly there is no place to hide, and sooner or later they will pay for the damage they’re causing to our sport.”

Under UCI rules, Van den Driessche now faces a minimum six month suspension and a fine ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 Swiss Francs (£13,700 to £137,000) despite a Belgian man claiming that the bike belonged to him.

  • Michael

    You cannot prove anything because you have nothing factual to offer about any cyclist whatever his or her nationality.

    I haven’t assumed you know nothing. Your posts demonstrate by themselves that you know nothing.

  • ummm…

    ok im done talking to you. i have nothing to prove to a nitwit like you. Believe the hype. Yes, the spanish, italians, germans, russians, americans, colombians, are all doping. certainly not the french or brits – and only the odd aussie here and there. I dont really care what you think. I take issue with you assuming I know nothing about the history of cycling and pummeling me with that ridiculous supposition in order to avoid actual discussion. Go crawl off into a corner with an old Simpson jersey or something like that and self flagellate yourself with a rusty bike chain. good bye.

  • Michael

    You clearly haven’t read everything because you need to keep asking me to tell you.

    The evidence and history of LA’s doping is widely available on the internet. It’s even on wikipedia. This shows that it was clear he was doping decades before he admitted it in a TV interview. LA had, for years, to play a game of legal whack-a-mole repeatedly to defame and discredit witnesses to his cheating. This is all widely known about.

    Put simply, LA’s fishy team stank to high heaven because of credible witnesses and evidence.

    Whereas, as I’ve said, there is no evidence at all. Not one single scrap of evidence. No witness testimony. Nothing. Nada. Not a single thing that suggests Sky’s TdF winning cyclists have cheated.

    These are the facts. You have no facts at all, just innuendo.

    The only thing you find for Froome and Wiggins is buffoons on the internet, like yourself, who have no evidence and know nothing but wave their arms around foaming at the mouth and ranting away.

    Look at your posts now. CAPS and so on. You’re losing control. You’re an emotional mess. You don’t have an argument – and yes, I could be a child because, frankly, you’re not as mentally astute as a bright child.

    All you’ve proven is that you know nothing at all about cycling’s past.

  • ummm…

    i know the evidence. I keep trying to tell you I’m aware of it. I’ve read everyhthing EVEN LA CONFIDENTIAL THAT WAS NEVER PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH – USADAS DECISION – EVERYTTTHIIIINNNNGGGGG. stop being evasive. I’m just trying to get you to answer a simple question. what is the evidence against him outside of the USADA and his own admittance. You are the absolute dumbest person I’ve had the displeasure of speaking to this week. THere is significance to this questions. Not until a totally unprecedented investigation and group confession was LA brought down. What was the smoke? What was all the evidence before it? Show me that you know and that I should be even trying to verify my own knowledge. Otherwise make this the last communique and leave me alone. I wont ARGUE the amount of knowledge that I have. You may not like my perspective because you are like a child in believing in every new cyclist that comes along, but you MUST debate me on facts and not on your stubborn and witless ad hominems. GET LOST.

  • Michael

    If you knew anything about the history of cycling as you claimed earlier then you wouldn’t have to keep asking that question.

    But I already said there was plenty of evidence that LA cheated decades before he sat and admitted he doped on TV.

  • ummm…

    blinders eh. not willing to entertain all the opinions. if you were american you probably would have been an LA supporter. What was the damning proof on LA?

  • Roger

    Not much. I did go out for a bike ride in 1973, if I remember rightly.

    I actually agree with pretty much all of what you said. I just get irritated by people in general who declare “so and so is probably clean” or “so and so is probably on this that and the other” when they haven’t a clue. I am looking forward to the day one of them gets sued for libel.

  • Michael

    There’s nothing in “Froome’s numbers” that point to any suspicion at all.

    There are plenty of internet buffoons waving their hands and making up numbers for Froome however. If you believe these people then there’s no hope for you at all. You clearly cannot tell fact from fiction or reality from fantasy.

    Which is perfectly understandable. As I said in my opening post, being cynical about something that is true is just as dumb as being gullible about something that isn’t true.

    But no, once again there is no evidence at all against Froome. None. Not one piece. Whereas there was years and years of evidence against LA.

    Real evidence that is, not some halfwit on the internet saying they’ve watched a video of Froome riding up a hill – but witnesses and teammates and employees of LA saying he doped. LA himself telling doctors he doped.

  • onearmedlove

    It’s more than buffoons on the internet, it’s buffoons who write for French newspapers.

  • ummm…

    there is similar evidence to what they had on LA. I read LA confidential, I knew about all the dopers, the motorola team days. I’ve know too much. I celebrated the day LA fell. Now the rest of the sport has disappointed me; although in order to make a profit there needs to be stability so I understand the tactic. However, I think the impetus is waning radical change – and the separate factions are entrenching. Nonetheless, Froomes current numbers, his past numbers, the doctors surrounding him, the DS’s, the other riders can all point to suspicion. If you are pretending every other rider is not to be viewed in context then I have a bridge to sell

  • Michael

    You don’t get out much, eh Roger.

  • Michael

    You start by saying “when it comes to cycling, and if you know anything about the history” and then you show that you know nothing about the history with your questions about the evidence that existed against Armstrong.

    There was clear and obvious evidence that he was cheating years before his jerseys were taken away.

    I’m not defending Froome because there’s nothing to defend him from. You couldn’t muster up a coherent paragraph. You’ve no evidence. If he was cheating there would be evidence – and there simply is not any at all.

  • ummm…

    Harri! I bet you are. always get caught do ya?

  • Roger

    I don’t think “likely” comes into it. The facts are as they are, and what any person who doesn’t know those facts considers likely or unlikely is purely subjective and entirely disconnected from the rider’s innocence or guilt.

  • Harri

    I’m a bank robber

  • ummm…

    – I dont believe everyone is a bank robber. But, when it comes to cycling, and if you know anything about the history, then you should not even be grappling with the truth. To say that we give this sport (or any sport) the benefit of the doubt is like repeatedly putting your hand on a hot stove. It is a bit naive to hold the position that you do.

    – Is Froome clean? Who knows. I certainly dont take his word or any other persons word for it. There are very compelling reasons to believe that he isn’t, and his word is part of the thin case to show that he is. In the end, my opinion on this one rider is no different than my opinion on the sport as a whole. He does not impress me as an athlete that is so exceptional to warrant “special” treatment.

    – What was the “tons” of evidence on Armstrong? LA Confidential? Drs, trainers and riders that work directly with SKY have been found to be cheaters. LA never tested positive (at least not publicly, and without sanction) and neither has Froome or anybody else. In my opinion the whole sport is one big crime scene, so to single out LA is an exercise in futility – and naivete

    -I watch most every race of the year. Hate to break it to you, but maybe in your bubble Froome wears a cape with a big S on it. In my bubble he is a dominant rider in a sport filled with cheats; a history of cheats; and an open love affair with doping methods. For you to put your neck out there to defend a guy, that you admit yourself to not know if he is doping, just shows that you are a fan of Froome. Doesn’t prove anything else.

  • Michael

    Believing that everyone is a bank robber is just as naive and dumb as believing that no one is. Perhaps more so.

    Froome is very likely clean. As likely as anyone can be without being the person and knowing for sure.

    When Armstrong was cheating there was tons of evidence. People who had worked directly with him saying that he cheated. Armstrong was obviously cheating.

    Froome, on the other hand, there’s no evidence at all. Not a single piece. It’s all just rumour and innuendo from buffoons on the internet – most of whom don’t even watch or follow cycle racing other than the TdF.

  • Marko Kraljevic

    Ugh, “Froome’s bike was one of those examined during the 2015 Tour, which he went on to win.”

    … Instead of checking the winners’ bikes at the end of each day – and then banning the entire team, from the next 10 events (or whatever :)), when a motor is found.

  • ummm…

    yeah but it also isn’t fun that we have the role of constantly reminding people. We certainly cant NOT talk about doping in sport – but is our job to out speak the opposite opinion, or to just keep the reality of the situation floating out there in the general psyche.

    Ill admit, I’m beginning to fatigue from all the reminding. But, grown men and women being so gullible gets my blood going.

  • ummm…

    I know it bothers you to see people so cynical about cycling these days, but you are analogous to the guy standing outside of the bank as robber after robber comes out with bags full of cash; and you stand their saying “who is robbing the bank? No this guy has an account here I’m sure.”

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Keep believing that it will make you feel better .

  • Michael

    And carbs

  • Michael

    Of course they could shave the weight. Quite trivially. The UCI weight limit is high, not low because since it was introduced technology has moved on.

    You need to check the bike, you can’t rely on weight.

  • blemcooper

    That could work if they take the reference data seriously for each and every bike model, size and component, being aware that the rule about equipment being off the shelf is regularly flouted these days with everybody riding prototypes and relabeled or custom manufactured parts.

    Using just the 6.8kg limit as the main reference wouldn’t work since some of these systems add just 1.8kg and there are plenty of 5kg bikes available off the shelf that with a motor fitted could be right at the UCI weight limit.

  • Micheal White

    Yep, hard work and determination.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    He has no need to fit a motor SKY and him seem to have other methods of winning .

  • Ananke

    It strikes me that it is completely unnecessary to dismantle a bike to check for motors. You can just weigh it, and compare it to a reference weight for the bike (99% of the time this will be at the UCI weight limit). There is no way you can shave off enough weight to conceal an electric motor and battery.

  • Who was the cyclist who thought that bike doping meant injecting his tyres with drugs? He got more punctures than anyone else.