Eleven days after a motor was found during the women’s under 23 race at the cyclocross world championships in Belgium, the UCI has confirmed that the case has moved to the next level in the disciplinary process.
“Pursuant to the UCI Regulations related to technological fraud, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has today referred the case to the Disciplinary Commission which will hear all relevant parties in the weeks to come,” it said in a brief statement it released on Wednesday evening.
“Working independently from the UCI, the Disciplinary Commission is the body in charge of imposing sanctions for breaches of the UCI Regulations.”
It added that no further statement would be made until a final decision has been reached.
European under 23 champion Femke Van den Driessche is under investigation in the matter, with a spare bike in the pit area found to have contained the motor in question.
She claims innocence, saying that the bike used to belong to her but was sold to a family friend who subsequently – and unbeknownst to her – had a motor installed.
She has stated that this bike was mistakenly taken by her support crew to the under 23 championship race, and that she never intended to cheat.
The UCI’s disciplinary commission will now consider if that is the case or if she should face sanction.
Under UCI regulation 12.1.013, any riders found guilty of technological fraud – more commonly referred to as mechanical doping – will be suspended for a minimum of six months and handed a fine of between 20,000 and 200,000 Swiss francs.
The rider’s team can also be hit, incurring a ban of at least six months and a fine of between 100,000 and one million Swiss francs.
If Van den Driessche is found guilty it will be the first such sanction in the history of the sport.