Hidden Motor Found in Pro Cyclist's Bike

It's an embarrassing first for the sport
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2016 11:21 AM CST
Hidden Motor Found in Pro Cyclist's Bike
In this 2010 file photo, a rider competes in the cyclocross World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic.   (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

If you're going to cheat in cycling, there's the tried-and-true Lance Armstrong method. Or you can just try to hide a motor in the bike. Yes, the world of professional cycling has uncovered its first case of "motorized doping" in a major competition, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. It came in the wake of the women's cyclocross World Championships in Belgium over the weekend, when officials using "some kind of radio-frequency-detecting tablet" discovered the motor in the bike of 19-year-old Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche, reports Gizmodo. Rumors of this kind of cheating have been floating around for years, but this is the first time an actual motor has been found.

"It's absolutely clear that there was technological fraud," says Union Cycliste Internationale chief Brian Cookson. "There was a concealed motor." The accused rider says it's all a big mistake, blaming a mechanic for handing her an "identical" bike that belonged to a friend. "This friend went around the course Saturday before dropping off the bike in the truck," says Van den Driessche. "A mechanic, thinking it was my bike, cleaned it and prepared it for my race." However, she faces at least a six-month ban from the sport and acknowledges that her cycling career might be done, reports Cycling News. Weirdly, Van den Driessche didn't actually finish Saturday's race—she had to withdraw over unspecified "mechanical issues." (More cycling stories.)

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