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OMLOOP HET NIEUWSBLAD

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UCI

NEWS
22.02.2016 @ 09:48 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Following recent controversies involving mechanical doping in cycling, the Belgian Cycling Federation has stated that is ready to spend 50,000 Euros to purchase a sophisticated handheld electronic scanner in order to swiftly and efficiently check bikes for any mechanical doping devices prior to races. The first methodical pre-race tests are likely to be carried out at Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first major professional road race on the Belgian calendar this year.

 

At the World Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder, Belgium was shell-shocked when UCI carried out checks with an electronic scanner and discovered a bike containing a motor that had allegedly been “fixed” for Belgian Under 23 rider Femke Van den Driessche. The Belgian press reported the discovery of electrical cables in the seat post and a motor in the bottom bracket. Driessche now faces at least a six-month ban and 20,000 Swiss franc penalty, although the punishment could be much more rigorous as the UCI has vowed to strike down hard on all cases of mechanical doping.

 

At the recent La Méditerranéenne stage race in France, further controls were instigated by the UCI but cycling’s governing body has been called upon by many, including the European Cycling Union and Tour de France organiser ASO, to conduct systematic checks before all races. FDJ team manager Marc Madiot has suggested imposing life bans on anyone caught trying to use mechanical doping.

Now the Belgian federation is ready to take matters into their own hands. “The UCI is working on an app for such controls but that will not be ready for the season. Since we do not want to wait, we’re ready to buy a scanner and therefore will perform a number of tests next week, Belgian Federation President Tom Van Damme said according to Het Nieuwblad.

 

The president’s comments appear to suggest that checks will be conducted at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race on Saturday, the traditional opener of the Belgian road racing season.

 

“The unit must be sufficiently practical: we need to test a large number of bicycles in a short time. Several firms are highly regarded and the sports technical committee will make a quick decision. The cost is high, between 40,000 and 50,000 Euros,” Van Damme commented.

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