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Bombshell report exposes UCI’s significant failures in regulating motor doping

RadioCycling’s investigation shows major problems with testing processes

mechanized doping motor in bike

Although the UCI’s has made claims of conducting testing for mechanical doping at all UCI WorldTour events and UCI Women’s WorldTour events, a recent investigation by RadioCycling has exposed serious discrepancies and shortcomings in these efforts.

Lack of tests at key races

One notable revelation from the report is that technological fraud tests were omitted during four of the 21 stages of the recent Giro d’Italia, including the critical time trials on Stages 1 and 10. Equally concerning, X-ray technology, an essential tool for detecting mechanical doping, was also not used during the opening grand tour of the season.

At the The Tour de France,  there were no X-ray tests on Stage 21 in Paris. That lack of tests is not limited to those two Grand Tours, alone, but extends to other competitions such as the Volta a Catalunya, the Tour of Scandinavia, and the Tour Down Under, among others, the report confirmed.

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Data not being shared

Even Paris-Nice was marred by the absence of testing on stages 5, 7, and 8. Milan-San Remo and significant women’s races like Paris-Roubaix and Flèche Wallonne also had limited controls due to inadequate testing measures.

Given these shortcomings, senior UCI officials are said to have voiced skepticism regarding the possible presence of concealed motors within the peloton, raising concerns about the credibility of professional cycling. In an effort to address these apprehensions, RadioCycling endeavored to collect data from 51 men’s and women’s WorldTour races. Surprisingly, only 24 races furnished data, 12 confirmed that the UCI had not disclosed any statistics, and 15 remained unresponsive.

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The UCI has defended its program against technological fraud in a statement to RadioCycling. “The UCI’s programme against technological fraud has developed steadily over the years and provides a robust system for the detection of any possible propulsion systems hidden within framesets or other bike components,” it read. “In 2023, a total of 4,280 controls have been performed, with magnetic tablets used for 3,777 of the controls and X-ray technology. All tests were negative.”

Only one cyclist has been ever been caught using mechanical doping: Femke Van den Driessche, a Belgian under-23 rider. She was discovered with a concealed motor in her bike during the 2016 UCI CX world championships and banned for six years.