6 month Ban for “Motorized Doping” – UCI

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Me and the UCI don’t see eye to eye much when it comes to penalties levied for cheating in bike races.  Like really cheating, not just crossing the yellow line type cheating.

I guess they decided that there must be some factual evidence that some professionals have been using electric motors during competition.  I say that because there would be no reason to address a issue, unless there was an issue.

So, the UCI made some rules if, or when, they catch some guy riding around, or attempting to ride around, on a bike with a motor in it.  Here is a link to an article at Cyclingnews.

What that article says is that the UCI thinks it is being very strict that mandating that a rider caught would face a minimum suspension of, yes, 6 months, for using a motor in a professional race.  Plus, fines, of course.  But the team would also face that same time-out, plus fines of 100000 to a million Swiss Francs.

UCI’s president Brian Cookson said, “The UCI takes the issue of technological doping, such as the ability to use hidden motors, very seriously.”

Come on, seriously?  If you catch a rider trying to race a race with a motor in his bike, then he has to serve a 6 month time-out?  Fuck that.  The guy is obviously really, really cheating, the same as a guy that injects EPO and HGH.  But the difference here is that you have an electric motor as absolute positive proof that he was doing it.  Not all this, I ate my grandma’s dairy cow, sat on Tenerife for month, explanations for why there are problems in their blood.

And personally, I don’t ever want to see a guy that would attempt to use a motor on his bike to ever be seen again.  Use an electric motor, then you should be suspended for life.

The article says that in Italy, there have been 1200 electric motors, I assume small enough to be contained within the tubing of a bike, sold recently. It says that the motor can be synced with a heart-rate monitor and it kicks in when the heart-rate hits a pre-set threshold.  Also, some can be bluetooth and be operated remotely.

Who comes up with this stuff?  Lets make a small electric motor that can be operated remotely?  If this technology is in existence, then it has to be for the competition side of our sport.  Or maybe they made it for  a kind of twisted practical joke to play on someone?  Seems a little expensive for that.

Anyway, back to the UCI.  This new sanction rule for electric motors just goes to show what page the UCI is on when it comes to tolerating real cheating.  They call it electronic doping.  It probably isn’t as advantageous as the real doping, but no doubt it helps.  If someone goes to this extent to cheat, then they are gone.  BIke racing is not a right, it is a privilege.

Come on, UCI.  Let’s just make the rules so that riders “are forced” into just using their own power to make their bikes go forward.  None of this, if you do this, then you’ll be slapped this hard shit.  Bike racing is a very complicated sport, but the real basis of it is that a rider has to power the bike.

My stance, if I were czar of the sport, would be that the team that was caught electronically doping their riders, would instantly be disbanded, never to be seen again.  The team directors and all support of the teams would never be allowed to work in the sport again.  And the rider or riders using the motors, would never be issued a license again, suspended forever, plus would all have to go to Levi’s Grand Fondo, each and every year, until they die.  On their own dime.

But that is just me.





The first half of the video is showing how to insert the electric motor and for 3:30 on, it shows the Cancellara deal at Pari-Roubaix and Flanders from a while ago.

49 thoughts on “6 month Ban for “Motorized Doping” – UCI

  1. Richard Wharton

    In that video, SURELY you’re not insinuating that Cancellara cheated. I really don’t believe that, in that specific instance. He’s just not that kind of rider…

  2. LD

    It does seem ironic – the easier it is to discover and conclusively prove cheating, the lighter the penalty. At least they are pulling the team into the penalty aspect instead of letting them off the hook and just blaming the rider, but then it would be hard (impossible?) for the team mechanic not to be complicit in a scheme like this.

  3. Joe

    Well….maybe the uci wants to make money from the cheaters. 6 month ban and they will be back in….and the uci hopes they will be stupid enough to try something else.

  4. K

    ” Like really cheating, not just crossing the yellow lie type cheating”

    I completely disagree with you here. Crossing the yellow line to move up in a tight field is against the rules and ‘really cheating’ . If you move up in the field over the yellow line it gives your completion the option of cheating as well and putting themselves in harms way or being at a disadvantage. No different than doping.

    Sure, uci racers don’t deal with the yellow line very often but it’s still cheating.

  5. Franz

    When they are caught with the electric motor on their bike they will say they had forgotten it was installed and they never used it in the race. That they installed it only to assist them to get home on training days that were harder than planned.

  6. Bill

    Agreed. I don’t understand the “doping is cheating” yet turn a blind eye to other forms of cheating – hanging onto the team car comes to mind. If someone hangs onto the team car to make it up a climb and then later wins the race, didn’t that rider cheat someone else of a win? Yet, if caught, the cheating rider just gets relegated and fined.

  7. JB

    Boy, he sure did “kick it into gear” though. I’d like to hear what Steve thinks of the “evidence.”

  8. Bill K

    I could use one of those thingys in my 45 minute master’s crits. If Doughty takes off, I could jump right on his wheel, instead of seeing visions of dead grandmothers.

    Seriously, a 3 year minimum ban would be appropriate.

  9. Russell

    I have a Honda Elite for sale. 250 cc. Gets 55 mpg. Requires no shifting and has hydraulic brakes. Other than occasional wrist fatigue you’ll find a dramatic increase in overall performance. This bike is stock and has never utilized oxygenating enhancers. It does have a windscreen and small fairing which could be removed for competition.

  10. Oldster

    I see this as a much bigger threat to amateur racing than big boy UCI events. With an “x-ray” machine of some sort this is really each to catch. Totally different ballgame on local stuff.

  11. Bee

    Sammy Sosa’s argument for using a corked bat that exploded in a game. He said it was batting practice bat. LOL

  12. Aki Sato

    I agree that a ban on such an obvious and purposeful cheat should be more than 6 months. Life sounds about right. Team, if they get caught with more than one motor then for sure, ban everyone. If no other motors, then it’s hard to ban the team. I’m thinking less than ProTour here, I’m thinking the grassroots domestic pro teams. The riders are so apart that I could see one rider doing such stuff without the team’s knowledge. ProTour, a single motor and team ban for sure.

    I was thinking of this motor thing when I read a recent article on the wireless control option motor and the water bottle cage. I think part of the reason I got into cycling was the technological stuff. Back then it was gearing. Now it’s not as much a fascination but I do subscribe to the significance of, say, aero wheels, and I like power meters for their post-ride/race data availability. This whole motor thing seemed ridiculous at first but now it seems like a distinct possibility.

    I was thinking of a rear hub motor. Small motor, anchored by the QR onto the frame, and there would be discrete contacts in the frame (steel/alum drop outs or just enough to cover the carbon there), one side +, the other side -, like a model railroad set. Battery could be, say, in a bottle. Not sure how hard it would be to hide the wires but that would be the only part on the bike that would directly implicate the bike to having a motor. The rear wheel could easily be swapped out (PowerTap hubs to make them even more chunky), bottle ditched (carefully – tossing a battery laden bottle could kill someone), leaving just some wiring inside the frame.

    The kicker would be using a battery in the hub, some kind of wireless control, the whole unit contained in the wheel. I think range would be limited but if used judiciously it could really help. It’s like real doping (the EPO/whatever kind) – you still have to race smart, you just have more options open to you. Race dumb with a motor/EPO/whatever and you’re still a dumb racer. Race smart with that stuff… yeah.

    I don’t know motors well so I don’t know if a hub could house a 100w motor but that’s substantial. If I could have 100w free in a race I’d be racing 50% higher than normal. 200w would be crazy powerful, heck 200w would put me closer to a Cat 1, 100-120% improvement over my normal avg power in a race.

  13. Ben

    What people don’t realize is how little mechanical (motor) advantage one would need to gain a massive advantage. The human body is very weak as compared to a motor. A 1/20th of a horsepower is ~38 watts… That’s nearly 10% of a World Tour pro’s FTP. A 10% rise in power output throughout a race would make most of these guys superhuman–far more than EPO even. You’d really only need a motor capable of producing 1/40th of a horsepower to make a major difference in a World Tour race.

    And I agree with Steve. Lifetime ban if you’re caught with one of these.

  14. Aki Sato

    Also one other comment. A local bike mechanic posts pictures of his work on Facebook. One set of pictures, a couple years ago I think, was a picture of him implanting an electric motor into a carbon bike and carefully closing things up (I think he actually had to cut carbon fiber) to make the frame look stock. So there’s at least one rider around here with an electric motor in his bike. Or maybe more accurately there’s at least one bike with a hidden motor around here.

  15. Bolas Azules

    The sport is so dead-set on killing it’s self. The hope of regaining any type of credibility is always an arm’s reach away (just like the drug testers are an arm’s reach away from keeping up with the latest drugs). Any potential sponsor must look at this like it’s the World Wrestling Federation trying to get airtime on ESPN.

    Drug testers chasing riders—>riders chasing credibility—>riders/sport chasing sponsors

    I do recall after the Cancellara’s victory people were saying he had a motor in his bike…at the time I thought it was a crazy accusation; not any more.

  16. Alessandro

    I rather like thisa idea about the bikea. No permissable for most riders. But for a riders a BMC, it’s a good item and 100% okay. No penalty ok? sorry for bad englisa.

  17. Bert

    Ben and Steve, what makes this form of assisted racing any worse than drugged assistance? Why lifetime ban for this and not for EPO? For steroids? For cortisone? For HGH?… At least with an electric motor, you can rule out dying of a heart attack at 25 years of age due to your blood being the consistency of cooling lava.
    Stinks like a double standard to me.

  18. SB

    That Gruber motor mentioned in the article can add 100 watts for 60 minutes… that’s enough to win just about any bike race where the rider is even marginally competitive.

  19. gehry

    This whole thing reminds me of the discussions we used to have in the 80’s about testosterone not being particularly beneficial to cyclists. Yes, people assumed it was of no benefit to endurance athletes. Turned out to be all about allowing recovery than making one stronger (by itself).

    The motor doesn’t assist by taking over the whole workload, but by providing some extra watts to simply make the pedaling easier. People again assume they are of no benefit. But if it fits and it provides ANY wattage assistance to the rider, then it is of benefit.

  20. darkcloud

    Electric motor= lifetime ban for the cheater and one season/1 year for the entire team
    Doping = lifetime ban for the cheater and one season/1 year for the entire team
    Team management and riders will have an epiphany about the evils of doping if there is ever truly a serious price to pay for getting caught.

  21. Ti-Raleigh

    After following the sport of cycling for over 40 years, I thought I’ve seen everything. If this is true about using motor assisted bikes, I want to puke.I truly have lost the love that I had for professional cycling.
    Lifetime bans for the guilty parties.
    It does open more sponsorship revenue though. In a few years we’ll see teams sponsored by Honda, Yamaha,and Kia.

  22. mike crum

    a small cheat or a huge cheat is still a cheat ..should be a lifetme ban.. really simple..no fuckin gray area.. thats the trouble..

  23. AKBen

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything to do with his hands in the video “evidence” that makes it look like Cancellara is doing something other than shifting gears. That said, those are some pretty effortless-looking attacks he puts in while in the saddle, both on the flat and on the climb. If a team were using a motor, I think it would be hard to keep everybody quiet about it, I think there would be too many people involved. For sure it would be a sign of a completely rotten/corrupt team if one was proven to have been used.

  24. donkybhoy

    Why is hard to keep silent?

    Pretty much no one talks about riders doping?

    Look at henderson making a twitter joke about Aru and now a lawsuit waiting. You think guys will see a motor and tell, more than seeing an EPO vial, syringe, tablets and tell?

    Apart from Manager, Mechanic and rider, who else needs to know?

  25. Calvin Jones

    Please have any investors interested in this innovative technology get a hold of me. Together we can produce this technology for mass consumption. Compared to other “ebike” technology, this will be huge. We missed the Taiwan show, but there is still time to get floor space at Eurobike and Interbike. If it really works as the UCI says it does, then this is easy money in the bank. We can then buy our own “slow bike” world-tour team if we want. Just the irony of that would make it all worth it.

  26. InTheKnow

    The other teams knew. CSC tried a silver bullet approach to winning races in order to find a new sponsor. It was the equivalent of a Hail Mary and it worked. By the time the UCI got around to first hearing about it (the Vuelta in 2011) the motors were long gone.

  27. James

    FC’s bike had Zipps. First use of deep profile wheels for classics if I remember correctly. Up till then nobody would trust them. Everyone else at the front is on a box section rim. You don’t think he was a bit fresher & able to spin those wheels up in comparison? Game changer. Zipps throughout field following year.

  28. gehry

    They ain’t gonna use it if it’s a fixed gear drive system. And you ain’t gonna attempt a descent like that with a fixie. What you’re implying requires having no ability to coast.

  29. gehry

    You make it sound like FC had a modern “lightweight” bike while the disadvantaged others were riding bikes made of stone, bronze and copper. Zipps didn’t change the game like you suggest.

  30. capt capital

    Yeah. Get all fucking worked up when he uses lower case when he really should’ve used upper case. My lizard brain just can’t make the correction.

  31. James

    “a bit fresher” & good legs x the knowledge you have an advantage? They were also running wider tires & lower pressures than everyone else lessen the punishment. Or he had a motor in the bottom bracket?

    Read the excellent article linked above. The use of deep carbon wheels is about as game changer as it gets.

    Not everything is a conspiracy.

  32. Bert

    There is no wheelset on earth that can account for that rate of acceleration. Sorry, but you’ve bought into the bullshit cycling industry advertising that tells you that (insert manufacturer name’s) product will give you gains only possible with…. well, you figure it out.

  33. gehry

    Sad that they’re actually calculating the differences in the riders’ weight to see if they’re close to the break limit of the wheel (yet). Glad I’m not using any carbon on my bike.

  34. gehry

    I’ve done a whole lotta racing. I’ve seen and experienced a lot of situations. When the best riders in the world, at the biggest race of the season are brought together like that, I have a very hard time believing that a lighter wheel can be responsible for such an acceleration in such a situation. I don’t remember seeing any field sprints where Cav exploded forward like a rocket. If these wheels are such a big game changer, we would have seen some more “game changes”.

  35. Larry T.

    Hey Shirley, don’t forget they said that punk from Tejas would never, ever dope after going through all those cancer treatments. And wasn’t Tyler Hamilton “too nice” to dope as well? I might have to get me one of those motors as I get too old and slow to keep up with our clients going uphill. More fun than driving the van or riding a scooter!

  36. Larry T.

    I’ll wait for the one with a bottle battery that connects when you slap it into the cage (wires all hidden) and has the control switch on the top of the bottle. Pull up on the bottle nipple for GO and push down for NO. Battery used up? A fresh one handed out from the car and away you go while the dead one gets recharged via a charger hooked up to the car battery. The whole bike weighs less than my current steel bike and the frame’s even Made-in-Italy! Great for old farts to keep up with the youngsters…but NEVER in any sort of competition..that would be just like taking PED’s…and ought to at least get you banned for the length of time.

  37. Jeff Lackey

    the rear wheel was simply spinning (freewheeling) from sliding out in the crash. the handlebars were flipped brake levers down, lifting the crank off the ground and allowing the rear wheel to touch and spin the bike around. also contributing was the downhill slope. no motor there. also the cranks would be turning if there was a motor since it drives the cranks via the bottom bracket axle.


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