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by Mark Zalewski
December 17, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Hidden motor inventor Varjas claims technological fraud still possible despite UCI checks; BMC Racing Team president Ochowicz ‘very confident’ in Porte’s Tour de France chances; Cookson urges Brailsford to reveal contents of medical package; Five questions for Dave Brailsford; Moreno Hofland on his new team; Edward Theuns calls the 2017 season ‘A rehabilitation year’; Aqua Blue Sport names roster for inaugural race; Androni-Giocattoli gets ProContinental license from UCI, no word on TJ Sport; Video shows Britain’s transport secretary dooring cyclist; Stölting Service Group team folds; NFTO closes after no replacement sponsor found; Japanese cyclocross racer forced to leave Belgium; Top Irish track rider Caroline Ryan retires; UCI Cyclcross World Championships teaser.
The inventor of the hidden motor, Istvan Varjas, has claimed that the UCI’s current methods of detection cannot pick up certain forms of mechanical doping. Speaking to French newspaper Le Monde, Varjas described a motor hidden in a hub of a wheel and costing 50,000 euro. He said that for a sum four times greater than this, more sophisticated electromagnetic motors are available. The Hungarian engineer suggested that the UCI’s current detection machines are incapable of picking up such devices, and that the governing body is unwilling to conduct much simpler examinations that would reveal such systems.
“It is enough to weigh the rear wheel. If there is a motor, the wheel weighs at least 800 grams more than the public weight. If a wheel weighs two kilograms, it must be disassembled.”
A senior French source told CyclingTips earlier this year that requests by the French police to the UCI to weigh wheels at the 2015 Tour de France were refused. In response to Varjas’s claim of an undetectable system, the UCI has said that their current magnetic resistance tablets are sufficient to detect all clandestine systems.
“We know that different technologies are available on the market and we are convinced that the detection method adopted makes it possible to effectively fight against any attempt at technological fraud,” it told Le Monde.
While Varjas showed the newspaper a motor fitted inside a Specialized Roubaix bike, he declined requests to show it a demonstration model of a modified wheel. He explained his stance by saying that if a clearer idea of the wheel became known, it would be more difficult to sell. However he gave details about its method of activation and said that riders using it might not even be aware such a device was fitted.
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