"It’s as bad as drug doping if not worse" says Great Britain team manager Chris Young after an electric motor was found in a Belgian rider's bike
- By Ben Goddard / Snowdon Sports


Great Britain team manager Chris Young has hit out at cheating in cyclo-cross after Belgian rider Femke Van den Dreissche’s bike was found to contain an electric motor at the World Championships in Zolder, Belgium.

Young said that every member of the GB team had been left shocked by the revelations from Saturday, with the news coming during the Under-23 Women’s race which was won by GB’s Evie Richards.

“Every rider just can’t believe what has happened,” he said. “It’s as bad as drug doping if not worse.

“It’s not just a girl who has allowed it to happen – someone has put the motor in there, and it makes you wonder who else has them.”

>>> Motor found in Belgian cyclo-cross bike ‘a disgrace’ says national cycling coach

Van Den Driessche, 19, is a household name in the sport and regularly finishes in the top ten in the biggest elite women’s races in the world, recently winning the European Under-23 Championship and placing second at the Kopppenberg Cross.

After one lap of Saturday’s Under-23 race, UCI officials tested her bike in the pit area with an tablet before then taking the bike away.

It was reported that when the saddle was removed, electrical cables were found in the seat tube. When they tried to remove the bottom bracket it was stuck, but eventually a motor was found inside.

On her spare bike, Van Den Driessche was later seen walking down the course with a snapped chain and later retired from the race.

The rider faces at least a six-month ban and fine of between 20,000 and 200,000 Swiss francs.

“In the old days people used to take drugs and try and get away with it, but now the tests are stringent which has put an end to that,” added Young. “But now you have mechanical doping and it just seems a bit ridiculous they can do it.

“This sport shouldn’t be about cheating.”

>>> UCI detains bike suspected of containing electric motor at cyclo-cross world championships

And Young questioned how widespread the practice might become, adding: “In local races people could have them, and it will raise suspicion sometimes when people win races, and you think ‘how are they so good?’

The full statement from the UCI about the findings from Saturday reads: “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.”

  • NitroFan

    I do know a few with considerably more that that! But I also know women with 30 pairs of shoes always a handy argument when faced with female opposition to a new purchase!

  • NitroFan

    Hi kevinmorice thanks for taking the time to answer I think he may have a problem with the system unless he did not charge it properly but judging by your own experience an almost complete discharge in a week is not looking good! Have a good season.

  • Michael

    Sheesh, it was a joke you fool.

    Of course a loop goes back to where it started.

  • kevinmorice

    I have a winter bike, a summer bike and a TT bike. On this forum I suspect I am unusual for having so few.

    Protip: Learn basic english before making grammar jokes. If you do a loop you aren’t actually going back, you are going round.

  • Michael

    Is that why you have 3 bikes? Because you never go back?

    Protip : You should cycle in a loop.

  • kevinmorice

    OK, so I had a read of the rules and Rule 12.01.013 says you can’t bring a motorised bike to the race, but that is an easy get out for any lawyer on the grounds that she didn’t bring it.

    I ride a cabled bike, actually 3 of them, 2 of which have did batteries in the seat post, and all three of which are UCI legal.

  • kevinmorice

    I charge the TT bike about once a month, just as a precaution for racing. The road bike I do about every 500miles or so, again as a precaution, I have never actually run either of them low enough to even get the warning lights. If he is doing anything more than that he maybe needs to replace the battery.

  • NitroFan

    Fair enough just out of interest how often do you have to charge yours his seems to run flat very quickly?

  • BikeRideMike

    It is illegal to bring a motorised bike to a race. And she was riding a cabled bike.

  • kevinmorice

    Fair enough, it just sounded in the first post like you were against them without even trying them in the same way that my dad hates facebook despite never having used it. I got both mine in end of season deals that made the di2 of last years model cheaper than the manual version of the next years. Even then I would say the dual shifting positions on the TT bike are probably worth the cost of their full price.

  • NitroFan

    Hi kevinmorice I tried it out last week on a mates bike but cant see how I would justify the expense. Campag Athena 11speed is quite good enough for my limited abilities! 🙂

  • kevinmorice

    Maybe you should try it. I have di2 on two of my three bikes and wouldn’t go back.

  • kevinmorice

    If (as reported widely elsewhere but cunningly omitted here) she didn’t ride the bike I am confused as to what offence she has actually committed.

    Also electric cables in the seat tube is standard on Di2 bikes, so I don’t understand why this would be seen as suspicious.

  • NitroFan

    I agree with your comments on the cycle being the best human powered machine ever invented but to dismiss that fact because of one tiny motor that does nothing more than change gear is in my opinion nonsense. BTW I will not be putting di2 on my own bike as I simply do not see the point!

  • gus

    I agree life bans for all involved will send the right message our society actually only works because there is penal code but it has to have real teeth and not be subjective as to whether it is worth taking the risk!

  • Sam Hocking

    The energy in the battery is not being used by the motor for propulsion. i.e. you change gear without pedalling, di2 etc won’t propel you forward will it?

  • Howmanyjackos

    A dynamo is parasitic .
    When you add a separate source of power (battery) it becomes mechanical fraud.

  • Tony Short

    So it’s dynamo powered lights only for you then? Have you thought this through?

  • Howmanyjackos

    Nitrofan.i have been riding today. I mean to say that a bicycle should be powered by the rider.you press a button which operates a MOTOR every time you shift gear ratio.
    Your bike has battery’s. ..also.
    Its pants! The bicycle is the best human powered machine ever invented.
    Add a battery , motor and it isn’t human power

  • Tony Short

    “In the old days people used to take drugs and try and get away with it, but now the tests are stringent which has put an end to that” added Young.

    Really? This guy really wants us to believe there’s no more doping in cycling? Is he for real?

  • Richard Porter

    Utterly despicable. How many knocks to cycling’s reputation can it take? All the rumours that have occured over the last few years of mechanical doping I had hoped were so ridiculous to be untrue but now new doubts are cast over ‘strong’ performances. If the allegations are true then somehow, no matter what the cost, the UCI must test ALL bikes prior to racing including spares etc. Any credibility gained over the reduction of doping cases has now been blown out of the water by this.

  • NitroFan

    The last time I rode a di2 equipped bike (last week) I had to pedal and press the gear change!I suspect it is long time if ever Howmanyjackos rode a bicycle!
    On the more serious subject of cheats ban her for life the message will go out loud and clear

  • Howmanyjackos

    electronic gear shifting removed the whole point of a bicycle..
    It is no longer reliant on human power.
    Cheating does then become subjective!

  • Chris Williams

    Totally agree – but 6 month ban is not enough….. They and her knew it was there so should be life time ban for her and team -that would stop it.