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A brief history of motor doping in cycling, from the pro peloton to amateur hill climbs

A brief history of motor doping in cycling, from the pro peloton to amateur hill climbs

Motor hidden in bike frame (Stade 2 video image, April 2016).JPG Earlier this week a pensioner clocked an impressive time at a hill climb in…

Saturday, Sep 10

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Motor hidden in bike frame (Stade 2 video image, April 2016).JPG Earlier this week a pensioner clocked an impressive time at a hill climb in France… only to be caught with a hidden motor in his hub

Ah, motor doping. Cycling’s most 21st century form of cheating was back in the spotlight this week after a 73-year-old president of a cycling club was erased from the results sheet at a local French hill climb after he was found to be riding a bike with a hidden motor during his surprisingly speedy ascent.

Mechanical doping, motor doping — whatever you want to call it is, of course, nothing new, with whispers dating back to the noughties of pro riders finding not-so-legal ways to make their machines faster.

> Mechanical doping: All you need to know about concealed motors

The advance of e-bike technology has only heightened suspicion and the UCI now regularly tests for hidden motors alongside tests for more conventional, pharmaceutical, forms of cheating.

But what’s the story and who’s been caught?

Femke Van den Driessche Former Belgian cyclocross rider Femke Van den Driessche remains the biggest name, and only top-tier professional, to be caught mechanically doping. In 2016, the UCI banned her for six years and handed out a 20,000 Swiss Francs following the discovery of a concealed motor in a bike prepared for her at the World Championships in Zolder.The UCI confirmed the motor concerned was a Vivax, operated by a Bluetooth switch concealed under the bar tape, […]

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