Flemish rider suspected of "mechanical doping"

The world of cyclo-cross is in shock after an instance of so-called “mechanical doping” at the World Cyclo-cross Championships at Zolder in Limburg province. A small motor has been found in the Fleming Femke Van den Driessche's bike. This may well become World cycling’s the first ever case of "mechanical doping".

Cycling may have its first ever case of mechanical doping after the International Cycling Union (UCI), cycling's world governing body, seized a bike used in the women's under-23 cyclo-cross world championship race in Zolder (Limburg province) on Saturday due to suspected "technological fraud".

In a statement released on Saturday the UCI writes that “The Union Cycliste Internationale 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.”

If found guilty, the UCI's regulations allow for penalties to be meted out to both Femeke Van den Driessche and her team. The 19-year-old Fleming could face disqualification, suspension of a minimum of six months and a fine of between 20,000 (18,000 euro) and 200,000  Swiss francs (180,000 euro), while teams can face disqualification, suspension of a minimum of six months and a fine of between 100,000 (90,000 euro) and one million Swiss francs (900,000 euro).