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August 20, 2017
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  • Pedro

    Great ban. It’s time for ZERO Tolerance

    • Torontoflatlander

      Agreed, first time offence or not. This is a slap in the face of all sports(wo)manship.

    • Steve S

      I think it stinks to be honest. I don’t mind if all cheating athletes and teams are banned for life, but there’s an element of bullying and hypocrisy when people go for the jugular of a U23 when there are tons of pro riders who get off with temporary bans for doping and teams that have taken the p*** for years and still get their tour licenses.

      • ummm…

        What can we expect of this sport? I think the punishment is overkill even if the sport was clean. But, this being a sport that loves to air its dirty laundry I can’t understand how this is supposed to play with actual fans. It seems as if another rider is being scapegoated. However, it will be explained away as them setting a strong standard for future offenses of this type – even as it is ALMOST common knowledge that this has happened before amongst elite cyclists. I’d say make her a hero as she best embodies the spirit of cycling, cycling tech, and marginal gains buffoonery.

  • Pete

    So what sort of infraction would the six month minimum apply to?

    • Simon Wile

      Improper sock height.

    • jules

      accidental doping, like when Contador infused blood that he didn’t know had traces of clenbuterol in it.

      • Pete

        So kind of along the lines of her side of the story then?

        • jules

          not really

    • Phillip Mercer

      Too light a bike – ballast weights may have been forgotten – or the mechanic included something like the SRM unit in the weight which I don’t think counts.

      • Dave

        No. An underweight bike only results in elimination/disqualification, or a refused start if detected before the race, because it is covered under the ‘scale of penalties for race incidents’ rather than the ‘technological fraud’ rule.

        The ‘technological fraud’ rule only concerns the propulsion system as defined in Rule 1.3.010:
        The bicycle shall be propelled solely, through a chainset, by the legs (inferior muscular chain) moving in a circular movement, without electric or other assistance.
        In para-cycling, mechanical prostheses/orthopaedic braces for upper or lower limbs can only be used by athletes who have been evaluated in accordance with the UCI classification procedure and who have Review (R) or Confirmed (C) status.
        In no case may a mechanical prosthesis/orthopaedic brace for the lower limbs be used outside paracycling events.

        I wonder if non-circular chain rings might technically be a violation? This could be useful if a doping investigation ever gets launched with the result being enough evidence for everyone to know they are doping but just short of enough to make it stand up to a CAS appeal.

        I would guess that the minimum penalty would only ever be applied where a rider has voluntarily confessed before being caught, and also shopped everyone else involved in the process. Even then it should be treated as a life ban, with all but the first six months suspended indefinitely so the rider is permanently on probation.

  • Cam

    Lifetime seems a bit over the top, not condoning the behaviour but surely some options exist between 2 years and life….

    • Charles Donald Smith Jr

      It’s better than going to jail for fraud and never being able to get a real job for the rest of your life.

      • ummm…

        if they would prosecute her on those grounds then they’d have to lock up the whole sport.

    • ummm…

      not when the UCI is scapegoating.

  • Callum Dwyer

    I’m sure a 19 year old cyclo-cross rider has 50,000 Euros just laying about.

    • jules

      even if she did, why would she pay if they’ve banned her for life?

      • Charles Donald Smith Jr

        Outside of the U.S., most governments in the EU take money’s owed in such cases straight from a persons income. In some cases, they can take all of a person’s possession’s not deemed essential to day to day living. That’s why she would pay.

        • Dave

          The UCI is not a government though.

          I agree with Jules, if a lifetime ban is applied the fine would be just a typically UCI-like empty gesture, just like when the AFL tribunal banned Alistair Lynch for ten matches after the 2004 AFL Grand Final which was to be his final match anyway.

          The fine for her team (either her pro team or the Belgian federation, whoever was providing her crew that day) would be for real though.

          • Charles Donald Smith Jr

            So typical American. Of course, you know EU laws better than someone that lives there/here. I’ll try and use a better analogy. No, the UCI is not a government institution. Visa is not, nor any homeowner renting a property. But, ( here’s the important part) if you owe money, any institution you owe can have the government garnish it from you. Its set up this way because we also have guaranteed social support when needed. The governments here make sure everyone lives indoors and has food to eat and also see’s to it you pay your debt’s. So, if she wants to have a nice home,TV, car, etc., she has to pay her debts. That includes this fine. Whether you agree or not, or whether you think it is fair or not, that’s not the issue and has nothing to do with my point or the facts. Now, do you understand what I’m saying?

            • Dave

              You have no idea.

              (a) I’ve never been within 6000km of the USA.

              (b) No EU court would agree that a debt has been created by the UCI fining a rider, the unilateral creation of a debt would be a clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

              (c) Regardless of the ECHR, the UCI’s own regulations state that a fine not paid is converted to a suspension.

              • Charles Donald Smith Jr

                Unilateral creation of debt???? Like every other penalty levied in life, like parking tickets and late fees for videos or loan payment collection fees? ECHR…..lol Being a member of any sport that is governed by any legal agency lends the participant to be liable to any and all fines imposed by the agencies while participating in their sanctioned sports. I quite sure they won’t be forgiving a fine in lieu of suspension when suspension is included. If she ever wants to own property, have a loan, or even a credit card again, she’ll pay.

                Although, I just checked the law before I finished with this reply. Once a judgement is filed against her, it will be valid in all EU countries except Denmark. So, if she wants to skip out, she can come here. She may fiend it less than palatable since the cost of living is higher and the availability many things the rest of the West takes for granted is limited and frustratingly and aggressively attacked by Customs when ordered from abroad…. But, I digress.

                Their fines are valid and will follow her throughout the EU, except her (Denmark). Her best bet is to pay. No fine has to be paid in it’s entirety immediately. She’ll make payments, file an appeal, and live her life.

                Human Right’s…. really? Don’t be so dramatic. I can see you feel this is over the top. Also, you somehow think that I am in approval of any of this. I’m only stating the fact that she is screwed and should have thought twice before doing something so stupid. Cheating has been so costly for so many sports and clubs lately via loss of sponsorship and fan support I’m surprised it’s not more drastic than it is. Cheating has all but killed American Baseball, beyond the fact that it’s mind-numbingly boring. Add that to the fiasco of Lance Armstrong, The financial losses altogether are astronomical. As hard as these governing commissions are looking these days for cheater’s only a buffoon would take the chance now.

                ECHR…… Have you watched the news in the last 10 years? The ECHR is barely interested in keeping people alive any more,much less the financial worries of some upper-middle class white woman cheating in a race.

                • Charles Donald Smith Jr

                  If you’d like to know any more about how these debts work, your ability to Google will help you just fine. It will even translate the French that Belgian law is written in and EU laws are available in English. It has been fun, but I’m bored now. Maybe we’ll butt heads again some other time on Disqus.

                • Dave

                  Quit while you’re ahead mate, you’re starting to sound like Donald Trump with his plan to build a wall and make the Mexican government pay for it.

                  The UCI’s own regulations state that the method of enforcement of a penalty (not really a ‘fine’ as the UCI is not a court, but more a ‘penalty fee’ payable before further participation in the sport is allowed) is suspension. There is no regulation allowing some other course of action if there is a separate suspension in force.

                  Were the UCI to try and sue to make Femke pay the fine, they would fail at the first hurdle of having to show that the debt actually exists because their regulations don’t say such a debt can exist.

                  If the UCI wants to address this for the future, they will need to rewrite their rules. They won’t be able to apply it to Femke though, as the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits retroactive contracts.

                  • Charles Donald Smith Jr

                    I’m not your mate. I’ve actually researched this, not taken a guess or given an opinion. I merely stated the laws for debt payment in Belgium and the rest of the EU. Of course the UK may be let people owe whoever for however long. I could care less about the UCI, this fine they “may” impose, or what anyone thinks of this situation. I never argued for any of that. I only checked into the laws and said if she would like a normal life after this, she’ll have to pay the fine. I find it interesting that you are so sure about the UCI’s ability or willingness to pursue fine payments. your argument is even incoherent. You have supposed that no-payment in this particular case will translate to a suspension. Well, if you could read, you would see that the fine was alongside of the implementation of a lifelong ban. So, in the logic of your universe, how is the fine going to translate to suspension in lieu of collection when suspension is in tandem with the fine? Is the American “Multiple Lifetime Sentencing” going on here? Use your internet access for something besides being a smug twat and look these things up for yourself. The fine imposed by such organizations are just as valid as a home-owner’s association fines for non-compliance in a lived area. All of these are legal and collectible via any local court system. It doesn’t take a court to institute a debt. A legal entity that contains willing and compliant members can impose debts against it’s members, legally. As far as court goes, all they would have to prove is that the fine or penalty was in proportion to the supposed infraction. In such a world-class high profile case as such, they would have to use little effort to show this. I don’t know you, so I can only assume that this fine seems an outrageous sum. Of course, it may be. But, that’s irrelevant to what I am talking about. It’s only about the validity of the debt. They have the legal right to penalize and pursue payment if they see fit. That’s the bottom line and the only argument I was proposing. Belgium is not the place to try and skip debts and live a normal life. That’s it.

                    Also, by joining such organizations you agree to their bylaws. The UCI’s Constitution clearly state’s, (This is a copied and pasted quote from them.

                    Technological fraud is an infringement to article 1.3.010.


                    Technological fraud is materialised by:

                    ? The presence, within or on the margins of a cycling competition, of a bicycle that

                    does not comply with the provisions of article 1.3.010.

                    ? The use by a rider, within or on the margins of a cycling competition, of a bicycle

                    that does not comply with the provisions of article 1.3.010.

                    All teams must ensure that all their bicycles are in compliance with the provisions of

                    article 1.3.010. Any presence of a bicycle that does not comply with the provisions of

                    article 1.3.010, within or on the margins of a cycling competition, constitutes a

                    technological fraud by the team and the rider.

                    All riders must ensure that any bicycle that they use is in compliance with the

                    provisions of article 1.3.010. Any use by a rider of a bicycle that does not comply with

                    the provisions of article 1.3.010, within or on the margins of a cycling competition,

                    constitutes a technological fraud by the team and the rider.

                    Any technological fraud shall be sanctioned as follows:

                    1. Rider: disqualification, suspension of a minimum of six months and a fine of

                    between CHF 20’000 and CHF 200’000.

                    2. Team: disqualification, suspension of a minimum of six months and a fine of

                    between CHF 100’000 and CHF 1’000’000.

                    (article introduced on 30.01.15

                    1,000,000.00 CHF = 912,865.88 EUR

                    50,000EUR…. They let her off easy.

            • ummm…

              I dunno why you have this attitude towards americans, Junior. News flash, it is the same here.

              • Charles Donald Smith Jr

                I am American and know how they are. They are insulated from the world via an ocean and the media and government lead them to believe that they know everything they need to know about how the world operates. That’s why they believe the Europe is Socialist and Russia is still Communist. Being from the Southern part of the U.S. I’ve listened to hour long discussions between people on world politics by people who couldn’t even name a single leader outside of the country. So when I hear certain styles of argument, I wrongly assume that the debater is American. So, not so much attitude as cultural programming. Unfortunately the “Know it all” culture has culminated in the phenomena we all know as Trump. I think it’s the constant embarrassment that pushes me into such rash judgement. It’s not exactly something I’m proud of. That’s also why below, I made sure I researched everything I said before I posted it. I, like many American’s, had my day of just shooting my mouth off. As we all know, the internet is forever. That’s also why I use my real name. I own what I say instead of hiding behind a moniker. It keeps me from being a complete prick and pretending to know something I don’t. But anyway, Thanks for calling me out on that.

                • ummm…

                  I’m American too. We definitely have a gaping education gap, especially when we consider the resources available to us. I’m up in nyc where people may tend to be more educated and more outward looking – but just as intellectually stubborn at times, as I can evidence even in myself.

                  The phenomena of Trump was first pioneered in Europe with the Le Pens, BNP, UKIP etc. etc. to some degree. We are just getting this brand of national populism and xenophobia here, although modified strategies have been run by the right for decades now.

                  I was sitting at a cafe with my gf in champagne last year and our waiter thought it necessary to remark that he was glad we were Americans from NYC, why? Well he says that many Americans that come from certain areas are vulgar and uncouth, and he then quickly remarked that he has the same types there too. It wasn’t for my benefit that he did so, as we had made a friendship over a couple of days and he had felt comfortable speaking openly, he recognized that stupidity is not an american brand. We are a large, visible country. We are the greatest empire ever to grace the face of this earth, with all the good and bad that comes along. It is only logical that our buffoons would be more visible as the whole world also looks to us. But I dare say that buffoonery was not always an American brand, and is not our primary export.

  • Nick Clark

    I’m all for coming down hard on any form of doping (‘mechanical’ or otherwise), but someone’s going to have to explain the logic and consistency behind this decision (19yo and a first-time offender) and the tokenistic seasonal bans and minimal fines that regularly get handed out for actual doping.

    Without justifying what she did (assuming she is guilty), I wonder what effect a $110k AUD fine would have on a teenager? I don’t imagine the money in junior Women’s CX is that amazing. That’s not making a point, that’s utterly destroying a life.

    • choppy

      Cmon, “utterly destroying a life”, she would be banned from cycling, not
      sent to jail. It is a sport, if you abuse it then bugger off and find
      somewhere else to cheat. And jules is right, the fine doesn’t need to be
      paid unless she wants to ask for special consideration and regain her
      license in the future (it has happened in horse racing, trainers appeal
      life bans 10 years later and regain their license).

      • Charles Donald Smith Jr

        As in my reply to Jules, Outside of the U.S., most governments in the EU take money’s owed in such cases straight from a persons income. In some cases, they can take all of a person’s possession’s not deemed essential to day to day living. That’s why she would pay. This is the same with any public debt here, i.e. credit, etc.

        • choppy

          so what is the negative part of that? If they don’t come down hard the sport will descend into a joke (well even further…)! A cycling organisation isnt really the government. The government can do that here too but like I said, in racing codes here (greyhound, gallops, trots) the fines are only paid when you want your license back. She has caused more than $100k in damage to cycling so I dont have a problem with this. If they had thrown the book at them like this earlier we wouldn’t be in the position we are in now in terms of perception. A shambolic bunch of dopers to the general public.

          • Charles Donald Smith Jr

            You missed my point. Bills are bills, whether it’s Club fines or creditor default. She’ll have to pay it like any other bill. Fair or not, here in the EU davoiding debt’s isn’t an option. It goes hand in hand with the public assistance guaranteed to everyone. I’m not sure what your argument is, but here debt’s are debt’s. Who they’re owed to is irrelevant. That’s my only point here.

            • choppy

              Then she should pay it. It will make the next person considering a motor think very hard…no problem.

              • Dave


                It is well established that ‘fines’ issued by sporting bodies are not enforceable. No European court would uphold any attempt by the UCI to apply for her wages to be garnished.

                The only possible avenue of ‘enforcement’ would be if it were less than a life ban, in which case the UCI would be able to prevent her returning to cycling without paying.

      • Hamish Moffatt

        Yup, being able to race isn’t some basic human right. Being banned for life doesn’t ruin your life.

        • Nick Clark

          You’re right, being allowed to race isn’t a human right. But being fined the equivalent of $110k AUD for a first offence as a teenager? That would bankrupt most people, and sure, bankruptcy before your in your twenties isn’t technically ‘ruining your life’, but it’s not far off.

          I’m not trying to say that there shouldn’t be repercussions for what happened. I’m just saying that the repercussions in this case are way out of line with what’s been handed out in the past (in what I’d view as more serious doping violations), and I think they’re over the top for a first offence in juniors.

          • Dave

            The fine is a symbolic gesture for the UCI’s PR purposes only.

            If she’s banned for life then she doesn’t have to pay it. The UCI’s own regulations say the only consequence of that is that she would be suspended until she pays it, which would be a moot point.

  • Imad Naseer Khan

    I think it is an over reaction to seek a lifetime ban for a first offence by a 19 year old. Perhaps she did it knowingly, then again may be not. However, I think cycling can take a cue from a similar case in cricket. Mohammed Amir was an 18 year old kid from a poor background with limited education but incredible talent. He got caught up in spot fixing and was the only player who admited his wrong doing unlike his teammates. He was incarcerated and given a five year ban. Since then he has served the time, learned his lesson and been embraced back at highest level of the game by the majority of players. He is living up to his potential and serves as a reminder to others espeically kids. Shouldn’t the UCI follow a similar path? Tough but lenient given the age of the offender? I know the history of the sport requires the UCI to be tougher but it is a disproportinate sentence (if handed down) when compared to all the EPO/Blood Doping culprits who are working in the sport or still riding.

    In cricket Mohammed Amir’s age and background were the factors that led cricketers to forgive him and bring him back to the professional level. Can cycling not forgive and mentor young cyclists who have strayed, provided they serve the time.

    • Dave

      It’s worth pointing out that Mohammed Asif (the other bowler, not the captain Salman Butt) also admitted his wrongdoing and had his ban from cricket reduced from the original ten years. Unlike Amir who had his ban reduced to five years, his was only reduced to seven because he had a previous suspension for PED usage!

      My perspective on the FvdD case is that a life ban should be the default option, unless she cooperates and coughs up the details of everyone else involved.

      If she does cooperate, then it should be reduced to five years with the remainder of her life ban suspended indefinitely, with the following conditions:
      1. she completes a university degree and holds down a real job for a minimum of two years before having a racing licence reinstated.
      2. she completes a couple of charity work placements between university years, perhaps with the UCI assisting in organising a placement with a cycling-related charity like World Bicycle Relief (Qhubeka).
      3. she continued to hold her job for the first year on return to racing at domestic level only.
      4. a return to international level cycling is subject to a vote of approval by both the UCI Athletes’ Commission (rider-elected representatives from each area of cycling) and the cohort of female CX riders at the time.
      5. all of her prizemoney for her first year back at international level is donated to charity.
      6. no race organiser should be compelled to accept her entry.

      • ImadUKY

        Your conditions are interesting and worth a thought, however, can you make someone attend university? I agree that if she cooperates and completes certain requirements which show rehabilitation that she should be given an opportunity to come back to pursue a career in cycling. However, donation of prize money to charity after she has done her time is a bit excessive given the fact she will probably have to pay a fine if she has a ban. Wouldn’t the private sector earned money plus prize money be used to pay fines imposed for her offence? Once she has done her time, she should be given the same opportunity as everyone else, even men such as David Millar for example. I think given a second chance she can become, or I hope she can become as big an advocate against doping as Millar.

        • Dave

          “… can you make someone attend university?”
          No more or no less than you can make a sporting body accept your entry if they don’t want to.

          But if I were reviewing her case after five years to see if a banned rider has met the conditions to have the remainder of their ban suspended, I would also accept evidence that they had held a real job for the full five years, or learned a trade and practiced it for a couple of years.

          “However, donation of prize money to charity after she has done her time…”
          Losing their first year’s worth of prizemoney would not be in addition to a cheat doing their time, but as part of it and instead of a fixed fine. Donation to charity (instead of fines going to the UCI’s general revenue) would be a measure to ensure probity, so the UCI’s enthusiasm for governing the sport is not linked to the revenue brought in by the sanctions.

          A life ban should be the default penalty for all serious cheating (doping, mechanical assistance, corruption) in cycling, with any reduction of the ban being treated as a suspension of the remainder of the ban and subject to stringent conditions. Yes, that includes dopers like David Millar who should have had to name the others involved in his cheating, demonstrate his rehabilitation and obtain the approval of the peers he cheated before being allowed to return.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    The hysteria from UCI is hard to understand. The kid wasn’t even caught actually using the doped bike and she’s banned for life? Are they trying to make up for their lackadaisical response to doping over the years by overreacting here? Another example of harsh penalties handed down by UCI – as long as you’re a little fish instead of a star like BigTex.

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  • Charles Donald Smith Jr

    Excellent, She can go hang out with Lance Armstrong and Tanya Harding.

    No officer, these aren’t my drugs. This is my friends car. I’ve never seen these before…. I don’t even know what drugs are officer… I swear….

    Yep, that excuse works every time.

  • ZigaK

    UCI setting itself up for failure again.

  • Turk

    I was at the 100th Paris-Roubaix celebration in 02 . My plans to be at the 100th Flanders celebration ended the day the fraud was found out in Zolder . I lost my since the 70’s love of bike racing, when my neighbor, Landis dropped his dime . The last 2 cross seasons got me back into the game . My passion may return when I see what happens to the team{s}, trade and national, along with the oblivious mechanic who’s being blamed for the fraud . No penalty is excessive in my opinion . The message must be received by any and all associated with the fraud . If not, the record of cycling policing itself is well known .

  • Dave

    I wonder if this proposed sanction is just an opening move with a good amount of haggling still to come?

  • roddders

    Knee jerk reaction and a sacrificial lamb. The uci needs to clean up pro cycling as currently it’s a joke. Banning some young girl for life but not going after the enablers and doing very little to stamp out doping doesn’t really send the right message.

  • Winky

    She’ll have to get a real job, I guess. (And stop calling it mechanical doping. It is only the press perpetuating this stupid term. CT, I expected better.)

    • Dave

      The bloke on the derny at the track worlds on the weekend looked pretty old, perhaps she could apply for that when he retires.

  • David9482

    Agreed on lifetime ban for mechanical fraud, the $50,000 fine isn’t necessary though. Kicking her out of sport is a massive penalty and more than enough of a deterrent for this.

    • Dave

      If it’s coming alongside a life ban, the fine is just an empty gesture.

      No court in the EU or Switzerland would ever uphold a civil suit aimed at recovering those funds, and even the UCI’s own regulations say the only penalty for not paying a fine is suspension until it is paid!

  • Damian Eley

    I hope the bans will apply to members of her entourage as well, certainly mechanic and team manager maybe more (though that might be tricky given it was at the worlds trade team vs national team etc).

    • Dave

      How that would work would have to be dependent on the logistical arrangements of the Belgian national team.

      My guess is that the ‘team’ is actually more along the lines of a collection of individual entrants who each bring along their own regular support crew, with the involvement of the national federation being limited to selecting the riders and putting their site passes in the post.

      If it was a centralised support crew with lots of hands-on management from the Belgian federation, I would have expected that someone would have blown the whistle on it – probably one of the other riders wanting to save their career.

  • Flash

    Seriously, this is a bad joke.
    I am all for severe punishment for cheaters, but I feel the drug users etc are far worse than this girls motor-bike.
    Matt White – “I doped most of my career ” – current job, running Orica GreenEdge (Aust Team).

  • Kenneth Sanders

    Why so hard on this mechanical doping and nothing even close to actual doping. Each method is still cheating any way you look at it. Why not a lifetime ban and $50,000 fine for all forms of cheating (doping). If you want to stop this behavior make the punishment so bad that no-one will want to cheat. Simple!

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