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Hidden motor discovered in amateur’s bike at race in France

A tip-off led to a joint operation between the Périgueux prosecutor's office, the French Cycling Federation and the French Anti-Doping Agency.

A UCI official checks a bike for a motor

A hidden motor was discovered in the bicycle of a competitor at an amateur race in France on Sunday according to Le Telegramme. The motor was discovered in a joint operation between the Périgueux prosecutor’s office, the French Cycling Federation (FFC) and the French Anti-Doping Agency at a in the department of Dordogne in the south west of France.

“We were advised by a French Anti-Doping Agency official of a suspicion of cheating by means of an electrical system, probably a small engine,” explained Périgueux public prosecutor Jean- François Mailhes to Le Telegramme.

The cyclists in question, whose name and age were not disclosed, had his bike inspected upon arrival to the event at which point a hidden motor was discovered.

The prosecutor explained that Sunday afternoon, the rider was interviewed by police who were trying to determine how much the cyclist benefited from cheating and whether it helped further the riders sporting career

According to the French cycling federation, this is the first time a hidden motor has been discovered in France. Other cases of technological fraud have been discovered elsewhere.

Belgian under-23 rider Femke Van den Driessche was suspended six years by the UCI for using a hidden motor at the 2016 cyclocross world championships. Another recorded instance of a hidden motor being discovered in a bike took place in Italy earlier this year when a 53-year-old amateur was discovered to have used a motor in an amateur race.

At the professional WorldTour level, no rider has even been found using a hidden motor despite allegations that the technology not only exists but has been deployed in races. No hidden motor has been discovered despite thousands of tests by UCI leading to allegations of tip offs between UCI officials and the current UCI testing deployed to detect hidden motors being ineffective.

New UCI president, Frenchman David Lappartient vowed during his election campaign that he would further crack down on technological fraud. He ousted Brian Cookson at the 2017 road world championships.