A bike has been detained after the Cyclocross World Champs Women’s Under 23 race in Zolder and is currently being investigated for mechanical doping.
Yesterday was a historical day for two reasons. Firstly, it was the first ever women’s Under 23 World Cyclocross Championship race, which gave the younger women a chance to shine as young men have done for years.
The race was won by Great Britain’s Evie Richards who put out a stunning performance which shouldn’t be overshadowed by the second piece of history.
Unfortunately, a fellow rider’s bike was detained for inspection and the UCI have confirmed that they found a motor in the bottom bracket.
The bike, detained at the race in Zolder, Belgium, was ridden by European champion Femke van den Driessche of Belgium.
Belgium news outlet Sporza have more detail, and say: “When the saddle of the tube was removed, there were electrical cables from the tube. When they wanted to remove the bottom bracket, which is normally easier, that was not because the crankshaft was stuck. Just sat there [was the] the motor.”
The rider’s father told a Belgium newspaper: “It is not Femke’s bike. Someone from her entourage, who sometimes trains with her, [put the bike] into the pit. But it was never the intention that they would ride it.”
There have been accusations of so called mechanical doping in the past, but this is the first serious case where the UCI have found a motor in a rider’s bike. The penalty for technical fraud is a six-month suspension and a fine that could be anywhere between 20,000 and 200,000 Swiss francs.