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‘No place to hide’ for motor dopers after Zolder discovery: UCI president

After a motorized bike was discovered at the Heusden-Zolder U23 cyclocross world championships, officials with the UCI have promised more stringent checks going forward.

After Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche was caught with a motorized bike at the U23 women’s competition of the Heusden-Zolder cyclocross world championships, authorities with the Union Cycliste Internationale have promised more stringent, thorough checks for “motor-doping” at future events.

UCI president Brian Cookson made the announcement after the discovery was made.

“We will be testing more bikes, more often,” Cookson said. “Our message to those choosing to cheat is that we will catch up with you sooner or later.” Earlier, the global cycling body confirmed via a release published on its website that Van den Driessche’s bike had been detained, subject to investigation. On Sunday, the results of that investigation were confirmed: a motor was found in Van den Driessche’s bike, confirming suspicions.

“It is no secret that a motor was found,” Cookson said during a news conference. The discovery, of somewhat dubious note for Van den Driessche, was the first case of technological fraud during a UCI competition—and it makes the U23 rider the first cyclist to be caught. The offense carries a penalty of a fine up to 200,000 Swiss francs and a minimum suspension from competition for up to six months. If her squad is found guilty, as Canadian Cycling Magazine reported, it may be subject to suspension, too, and could be fined as much as one million francs.

“Technological fraud,” Cookson declared through Twitter, “is unacceptable. We want the minority who may consider cheating to know that, increasingly, there is no place to hide, and sooner or later they will pay for the damage they’re causing to our sport.”

None of the podium finishers at the Zolder U23 competition were under suspicion, reports said.