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In-race motor doping tracker could be introduced in 2020, says UCI

Chris Froome bike is checked for a motor on Stage 9 of the 2016 Tour de France
Joe Robinson
7 Jun 2019

Number of checks for mechanical fraud conducted at 2019 Giro d'Italia down on last year's race

A tracker that can be fitted to every bike in the peloton and detect hidden motors at any point during a race may be introduced by the UCI soon. This announcement came as the UCI conducted a net drop in the number of bikes checked for motors at the recent Giro d'Italia.

In a statement, the UCI confirmed that it had conducted a total of 1,312 tests using the magnetic scanning method at the start of stages. On top of that, 113 bikes were also tested using the x-ray scanning box which included the stage winner and race leader each day.

This combined total of 1,425 bike checks is lower than the number of checks conducted at last year's Giro.

While only 58 bikes were checked using the x-ray scanning box, 1,440 bikes were checked using the iPad scanning method in 2018, which is a total of 78 more checks than were conducted at the 2019 Giro d'Italia.

However, the number of checks for mechanical fraud could be set to rocket as the UCI also confirmed it has reached the second phase of implementing in-race trackers that can detect concealed motors at any time.

The UCI has been working with the Department of Technological Research at the French Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission on this project.

It confirmed a test project had been conducted at the 2018 Tour de France and that it is now seeking an 'industrial partner  in charge of manufacturing the trackers with the introduction of a first version considered for 2020.'

Alongside these trackers, the UCI hopes to have developed an improved version of the scanning tablets for 2020 which will cost less while providing more powerful scanning.

'Since last year, we have at our disposal a robust set of methods to counter the risks of technological fraud that allows us to check bikes at the start and finish lines,' said UCI President David Lappartient.

'Research projects are continuing and shall enable us to be equipped with new technologies that can monitor equipment anytime during the competitions. We’re aiming to ensure that the cycling community has confidence in the performances of our athletes.'

There is still only one incident of mechanical fraud in professional cycling to have been proven: the case of junior cyclocross rider Femke van den Driessche who was caught using a concealed motor at the 2016 World Championships.

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