Tuesday, 15 March 2016

van den Driessche Faces Sanctions

Femke van den Driessche faces a severe punishment by the Union Cycliste Internationale in the first case against a rider for competing on a bike allegedly containing a hidden motor.

On Monday Van den Driessche, 19, opted not to defend herself at Tuesday’s UCI disciplinary hearing in Switzerland into her use of the machine in the women’s under-23 race at the world cyclo-cross championships in Zolder in January.

She had maintained the confiscated bike belonged to an acquaintance and was in the pits because of a mix-up by a mechanic, but on Monday she said would not contest the matter and added that she had retired from cyclo-cross.

In a statement the UCI said: “The Union Cycliste Internationale confirms that the disciplinary commission hearing regarding the Femke van den Driessche case took place today at the UCI World Cycling Centre, headquarters of the international federation in Aigle, Switzerland. A decision will be rendered and announced in due course and, until then, the UCI will not be making any further comment.”

The UCI president, Brian Cookson, said in March that cycling’s world governing body would request the toughest possible sanctions. Regulations, recently strengthened, provide for a minimum suspension of six months and a fine of up to 200,000 Swiss francs (£141,000) for an offence of “technological fraud”, while coaches, mechanics and other officials could also be sanctioned.

Bikes have been scanned by the UCI at major competitions across all disciplines and events, including the Tour de France, in recent years because of speculation regarding motors hidden in bike frames. At the track world championships in London on 2-6 March 274 bikes were scanned.

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