The UCI has continued to check hundreds of bikes every day for motors. Photo: Cor Vos

Hidden motors: UCI announces results of Tour de France checks

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The UCI has announced that it carried out a total of 3,773 magnetic resistance tests for motors over the course of the Tour de France, and that no evidence of technological fraud was found.

The tests came months after the first-ever case of mechanical doping proved that such motors were a real threat to the sport. The rider caught then, Belgian cyclocross worlds competitor Femke Van den Dreissche, was subsequently given a six year ban.

During the Tour de France UCI president Brian Cookson confirmed that others could yet be punished for their involvement. “It is still with the lawyers, and we are working with the Belgian authorities on that issue,” he told CyclingTips. “It is not resolved yet. It is not the end of the story, I think.”

In a release issued on Wednesday, the UCI said that tests were carried out ‘unannounced, prior, during or after racing,’ throughout the 21 stage Tour, and that all tests were negative. It also said that it had carried out a total of 10,000 magnetic resistance tests since the start of the year, and that the Van den Driessche case was the only positive.

It added that the Tour de France tests were joined by separate examinations using thermal imaging cameras and X-rays and that these too were negative.

“I want to thank the UCI staff for its hard work and dedication in testing so many bikes over the past three weeks,” said Cookson. “This demonstrates our absolute commitment to leave no stone unturned in a matter that if not tackled properly, could seriously damage the renewed reputation of cycling.

“I would also like to thank the riders, the teams, the organiser of this year’s Tour, as well as the French police – in particular the Office Central de la Lutte contre les Atteintes a l’Environnement et a la Sante Publique (OCLAESP) – for their co-operation and support. We will continue to test bikes heavily throughout the rest of the season, and do everything in our power to make sure this form of cheating stays out of our sport.”

In June UCI technical manager Mark Barfield was accused of alerting others to police checks at last year’s Tour. This alert prevented French police from being able to interview controversial Hungarian engineer Stefan Varjas, who had been linked to rumours of motor use in the peloton in 2010.

The UCI said then that it was looking into the claims. No outcome has yet been announced.

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