Pro Racing Cyclist Caught With Motor Hidden Inside Bike.
Belgian cyclist Femke van den Driessche had her bike impounded at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships—and it was discovered that there was a motor hidden inside.
“After one lap of the world championships, UCI took Femke’s bike in the pit area and tested it with some sort of tablet,” said Sporza journalist Maarten Vangramberen. “When the saddle was removed, there were electrical cables in the seat tube. When they wanted to remove the bottom bracket, which is normally not difficult, they could not because the crank was stuck. Inside there was a motor.”
“For the UCI, this is the first time we have established a technical fraud and for us that’s a downer,” said Peter Van den Abeele, a manager for the UCI (that’s International Cycling Union, in English). “Most people are bewildered [by this].”
As someone unfamiliar with racing bikes, I am totally bewildered by this. How do you hide a motor inside a bicycle, such that it requires a tablet to detect it? Where is the UI hidden, such that it cannot be seen by visual inspection? And wouldn’t a motor make some kind of noise?
Where the Motor is Hidden
The cylindrical motor of Vivax’s Assist tucks away inside the seat tube, and at the bottom is a gear arrangement that then drives the crankshaft. The system can be purchased in an Invisible Performance Package option that renders the button wireless, which could be hidden anywhere, like under the saddle or even on the cyclist’s body. What’s not clear is where or how the battery was concealed in the Van den Dreissche incident.
I suppose with the stringent drug testing, undetectable drugs isn’t much of an option. Greedy people will do anything for the big pay day.