UCI steps up checks at La Mediterraneenne


Want to know how the UCI found the motor in Femke Van den Driessche’s bike at the Cyclocross World Championships a couple of weeks ago? Well here’s how.

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

A video posted on Instagram by Claudio Cucinotta, former pro cyclist and now the performance coach at Bardiani-CSF, shows a UCI official scanning the bike of Simone Sterbini at La Mediterraneenne, a 2.1 classification Europe Tour race currently taking place in the south of France.

Controlli @uci_cycling per verifica presenza #motorini in telai e ruote @bardiani_csf #greenteam #rideclean

A video posted by Claudio Cucinotta (@claudio.cucinotta82) on

The official scans the bike using a tablet that is presumably hooked up with a magnetometer sensor, paying particular attention to the seat tube, where the motor was found in Van den Dreissche’s bike, and to the wheels, perhaps having read our story about 100kph electromagnetic wheels on his way to the race.

>>> Watch: how motorised bikes have been possible since the 1970s

The UCI has been under considerable pressure in the last couple of weeks to step up its testing for motorised bikes in the wake of the recent scandal, with the European Cycling Union calling on the world governing body to do more to preserve the image of the sport.

In response, the UCI is looking to introduce new detection methods, with the checks at La Mediterraneenne almost certainly part of a renewed effort to detect riders using motorised assitance in races.

  • Bubba Nicholson


  • TrevorHoldsworth

    Of course, the equipment sponsors (groupsets Shimano, Campag, SRAM, FSA etc) could include a “do not ‘modify’ our axles” clause in the sponsorship deal, as could frame manufacturers. It’s not the ultimate deterrent, but I think it’s necessary from the sponsors point of view..

  • Jwiffle

    I was a doubter, admittedly. But I still saw value to the checking. Because, obviously, if they never checked, someone would. I just thought no one would be dumb enough if they were checking. But I guess stupidity is even worse than I thought. Hopefully, especially since they are ramping up checks even more, no one else will be as ignorant as to think they won’t get caught with a motor. There may be omerta regarding traditional doping, but I’d sincerely hope it wouldn’t extend to motorized doping.

  • Jwiffle

    Yeah? And which bike company is going to sponsor and provide all the bikes for all teams? Not a one has money to do all that. And if teams then have to purchase all their bikes instead, how are they going to afford it? And if all bikes can only run Shimano, what’s going to happen to campy, sram, zipp, et all?

  • Mike Prytherch

    A very simple deterrent, the UCI introduce a rule, that any professional team caught with these devices in it are banned forever, these teams are run by mechanics, its simply not plausible (unlike drugs) that individuals could get away with it, so the whole team goes

  • Sutton Atkins

    It’s funny how last month the majority of people were saying “it’s a myth”, and now the same people are outraged an calling for the UCI to “step up their checks”.

  • Howmanyjackos

    One design racing.all competitors ride identical bikes …? It exists in other sports …the idea being that the best athelete wins.