The Union Cycliste Internationale has reportedly confiscated the bike used by pro cyclist Femke Van den Driessche, 19, of Belgian after (allegedly) committing “mechanical doping” by using an unauthorized electric motor during the Women’s Under 23 race of the 2016 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder. According to The Belgian press officials found electrical cables in the seat post and a motor in the bottom bracket after the UCI took Femke’s bike into to the pit area and tested it following only 1 lap of the world championships.
Although rumors of technical misconduct in the sport have circulated for years, this was the first time a rider has been caught. Van den Driessche, however, denied any wrongdoing during an emotion interview with VRT Sport.
“It wasn’t my bike, I would never cheat”, she stated tearfully.” After my chain broke I got off and was told that there was something wrong with my bike. I didn’t know what was wrong. Then I saw that bike, which looks identical to my own, standing there. I don’t know how it go there I am more preoccupied with myself on days like that”.
According to the teen, that bike belonged to a friend of hers and was left standing against a truck, and contended that one of the mechanics must have mistaken it for hers and brought it to her by accident. She went on to say she had no idea that it had a motor when she got on and continued racing.
Van den Driessche had entered the race as one of the favorites thanks to solid results in the World Cup and a 2nd-place finish at the Koppenbergcross last November. However, after the discovery of the motor, the Belgian and European under 23 champ was eventually forced to cross the line on foot and now faces a minimum 6-month ban and 20,000 Swiss franc fine, although the punishment could be much harsher. Still, Van den Driessche (also a former mountain bike junior national champion) is worried that this could prove to be the end of her career.”