Belgian cyclist handed six-year ban for using a motor

Femke van den Driessche has been suspended for the first case of mechanical doping in cycling

Belgian cyclist handed six-year ban for using a motor

Image: Tony Marshall / EMPICS Sport

Belgian cyclist Femke van den Driessche has been banned for six years by world cycling's governing body for the first case of technological doping in the sport.

The UCI found the 19-year-old guilty of using a bike containing a motor at a Cyclo-cross World Championships event.

The Belgian has been fined 20,000 Swiss Francs (€18,182) and ordered to pay legal costs.

As well as being ordered to return her medals and prize money, she is disqualified by competitions held by respective organisers. 

A Union Cycliste Internationale statement read: "Ms Femke Van den Driessche is found to have committed a violation of art. 1.3.010 in combination with art. 12.013bis (technological fraud) of the UCI Regulations.

"Ms Femke Van den Driessche is suspended for a period of six years starting from and including October 11, 2015 and ending on October 10, 2021."

The motor was found in a bike used by the under-23 European cyclo-cross champion at the under-23 World Championships in Belgium in January.

Over 100 bikes were scanned at the event and the new method of testing "has proven in trials to be extremely effective in locating hidden motors or other forms of technological fraud" by quickly detects motors, magnetic fields and solid objects concealed in a frame or components.

The Vivax motor was concealed along with a battery in the seat-tube. It was controlled by a Bluetooth switch installed underneath the handlebar tap.