I know the title has nothing to do with reality, but that is what I think the race should be/have been today if we lived in a perfect world. Plus, that really is the UCI rule that they enacted last year to address the use of motors on bikes in racing. And that is exactly what happened at the World Cyclo-X Championships yesterday.
A Belgian U-23 woman, Femke van den Driessche , was “caught” with a motor on her bicycle. She is the current U23 Belgian and European cyclocross champion. Here is the link to a Velonews article on the incident.
The UCI rule states the penalty –
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.
Belgian national team coach Rudy De Bie said that “I feel really terrible,. This is a disgrace. I never imagined something like this would happen to our team.” So he says that Femke was a team member, thus the disqualification of the whole team would be the sanction.
The rule states that the rider, plus the team will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months. And I agree with Rudy De Bie that her team is the Belgian National Team this weekend.
I know this sounds far fetched, but the recourse for an infraction like this needs to be super severe. There is no jacking around with trying to screw with this blatant cheating. The woman was caught red handed with a motor concealed within her frame.
But, do you think that this will occur today. I bet not. No way.
The UCI has this moment, this very first time that this has been discovered, to draw a very serious line in the sand. They aren’t going to do it.
I wrote a post about this early last year about mechanical doping. Here is the link. I say zero tolerance. It has been happening, they have sold 1000’s of this motors, by now, and for sure this isn’t the first time it has been used in international competition. It is just the first time it has been caught.
Her dad did an interview and this is a quote from that interview – “The bike was in the pit but it is [belonging to] someone from her entourage, who sometimes trains with her. But it was never the intention that it would be raced.”
So it sounds like she/they knew of the bike, but that she didn’t have “the intention” of racing it. So they just put it in the pit for………? Isn’t the pit for a bike exchanges? At the World Cyclocross Championships? The guy sounds desperate.
Anyway, this is a sad day for the sport of cycling. Cyclocross is such a beautiful sport. Nothing like someone cheating in such a black and white way, to tarnish it.
If you still want to watch the race this morning, here is maybe the best way –
Cyclocross Worlds LIVE 7:50am, 8am start CST (3pm in Zolder, Belgium)
Use Firefox browser with Hola extension selecting “Switzerland” as country, then go to YouTube and select “ucichannel” and the event “LIVE Elite Men’s Race | 2016 Cyclo-cross World”.