Cycling: fighting mechanical doping

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

UCI – the world governing body of cycling – has announced, on 21 March 2018, new measures to fight mechanical doping – also known as technological fraud – in the sport.

These measures include a new x-ray cabinet to check for hidden motors in the frames and electromagnetic wheels, as well as the use of thermal imaging cameras.

As the UCI President, David Lappartient, has acknowledged, cycling has suffered from doping in the past and “we are going to do our utmost so that we won’t have future cases of technological fraud.”

In introducing the new measures, he also remarked:

“Cycling is a magnificent sport … [and] people must be able to believe in the results; that’s why we continue to fight against doping….. It’s our responsibility to guarantee the results and we’re determined to do that.”

The UCI will ensure that 150 days of racing will be covered by the bike checks this year, across road, cyclo-cross, mountain biking and track racing.

The UCI has collaborated with VJ Technologies of Lausanne to create the new x-ray cabinet. The methods and equipment will be validated and certified by independent laboratories.

The new device is designed to reveal any hidden motors in the frame and wheels, without dismantling the bike.

It is also made of a protective lead shield to ensure the safety of UCI officials carrying out the checks when using it.

Fines for mechanical doping have been increased: the rider will face a suspension of a minimum of 6 months and a fine of between Sw. Frs. 20,000 and 200,000; and the rider’s team will face a fine of between Sw. Frs. 100,000 and 1,000,000.

Anyone subject to the UCI Regulations that aids and abets the commission of a mechanical doping offence faces a suspension of 6 months and a fine of between Sw.Frs. 5,000 and 200,000.

Let us hope that these new measures will be effective and save the sport of cycling from any further damage to its integrity and reputation.

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’