Watch Elite Cross Worlds minus the Belgians?

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

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”.


Think she won this race fair and square?

Think she won this race fair and square?







39 thoughts on “Watch Elite Cross Worlds minus the Belgians?

  1. The Cyclist

    Cut my ride short yesterday to watch Compton but she fucked it up in the first bend already. Craptacular.

  2. The Cyclist

    Regarding motors… well, that’s just hilarious. Actually not a bad idea if it would make girls go as fast as boys. Would be way more fun to watch.

  3. Telford

    Sad. If this is going on in a women’s U23 race, then you know it is happening other places where there is a lot more money on the line. No way this young lady did this on her own. Should be a very thorough investigation and lifetime bans for anyone connected. This is not the least bit gray. This is black and white outright cheating and those responsible have no place in my sport.

  4. The Cyclist

    … and now Sven makes me cry. n the lead at his age. Doesn’t matter if he wins or not. What a cyclist. What a man!

  5. mike crum

    other form of cheating.. she got caught.. big deal.. look at EVERY pro road racer that STILL cheats and is lucky they havent go caught… who cares.. i didnt get your post on the “sad day in cycling in such a beautiful sport” . whats so beautiful about ALL the pro men that cheat but haven got caught?? all those fuckers cheat.. and what do you mean by “black and white”?? ok to cheat in the gray way? sometimes i dont get your posts…an

  6. Dave M

    Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that the intent of sanctioning the team is because the offending equipment was likely supplied by the team? Bike supplied by Belgian federation – sanction federation, bike supplied by trade team – sanction trade team.

  7. Channel_zero


    UNINSTALL hola when you are done. That license agreement you clicked through to use Hola stipulates they can use your computer as a service providing proxy for others.

    There is no way the UCI will actually enforce that rule. No way. More unenforced rules.

  8. Joe

    Steve, forgive me if I misunderstood your statement, but an immediate ban/suspension ignores due process, which the UCI provides in its rules. I agree that the punishment should be severe, to all parties involved, but only after taking the necessary steps to ensure the truth (as best it can be) is assured.

  9. Russell

    Femke van den Driessche is the poster child for u23’s. Young people and their parents could learn more about human motivations and success from this woman than they learn from their current yogi or training guru. My guess is we’ll blow by this quickly as we continue to blow smoke up the ass of young people looking for a discount on a bike or some free wax for their skis. Pretty sad but not unusual. This is simply mechanical and therefore more tangible.

  10. Mike Rodose

    A few bad apples don’t ruin the sport.

    It’s terribly embarassing and shameful for the bad apples, but it doesn’t overshadow the sport. Gloom and doom? No. It’s awesome someone got caught with a motor in their pit bike! And it’s not hard to find the motors…easier than catching dopers perhaps.

    Regarding the UCI rules and entire team, it might extend to the Belgian U23 women’s team, but not beyond that.

  11. james

    thanks, steve.
    I kinda wish they did suspend the Belgians.

    However… if they enforced the rules, maybe the UCI would lose market share to another sanctioning body???
    Kind of a catch-22 for them, but I still think they should levy heavy penalties to the belgians

  12. Aki

    I’ve never been good enough to go to Worlds, but isn’t the national federation there just to support the riders, not to actually “run” them, if you will? Meaning the rider has to bring all their own equipment, etc. Someone posted all the nonsense our own Elite racers have to do to just get to Worlds this year (related to all the US qualifiers that declined to go). If that’s the case then my thought was that the trade team should be punished, not the “substitute teacher” national team.

    Even in the Olympics it was obvious that the riders were riding trade team equipment (to wit – the orange Specialized frames), not national stuff, exception being the Brits, who were riding their high tech bikes, and I don’t know who else was doing something similar.

    If the bike was a national team bike (like the GTs that the US National Team rode a while back) then, okay, yes, the National Team is responsible. But this is a trade team bike, not a national team bike.

    Wondering what your thoughts are on this. Thanks as always for your posts.

  13. Bill K

    Should be a lifetime ban for the rider, AND the mechanic who prepared that bike………..And a one year ban for everyone on that team, including all coaches, mechanics, and support staff.

  14. Gnate Hack

    Because speed is the only thing involved in a bike race?

    Your comment about women makes you seem single, lame, single, and uninformed.

    Respect everybody.

  15. darkcloud

    First offense=severe financial penalty and lifetime ban from the sport. And a mug-shot in every post office.
    FFS…will this sport every clean itself up?????

  16. Krakatoa East of Java

    1) The Belgian federation knows the rules and should inspect the bikes of each team member who is racing. Negligence is not an excuse.

    2) Fabien Cancellara brought this behavior to us first (several years ago). The video of him cheating in a Spring classic is far more compelling than the video I just watched.

  17. Spinner

    I never thought that it would be a female U23 that would cheat using a motor. Very sad.
    My understanding is that her brother has been suspended for EPO use. Is that true?

  18. Mike Rodose

    You can respect everybody.

    Bit that diesn’t mean everybody is fun to watch racing bikes.

  19. Ryan Miller

    I recall an article in velonews back around 88-89 where it was proposed they create different classes for bicycle racing akin to drag racing where you have stock, super stock and top fuel eliminator categories. It was around the time all the Dutch juniors were dying of heart attacks in their sleep. I believe the article was written by Bob Roll but too much time has passed to remember the details. But this has become insane that you will have to x Ray bikes. This kind of reminds me of when the California 7-11 juniors were caught riding free wheels that went 15,14,15,16,etc so when they went to roll out their bikes rolled out fine but they actually were racing with a 53×14 when everyone else was racing a 53×15.

  20. marc

    Cancellara kicked ass before they made concealable motors and he’s kicking ass now when they are checking all the pro bikes for them (check Mallorca results a few days ago). His name should be mentioned with this Belgium trash.

  21. Jim

    This makes me think of NASCAR and their rules against the use of traction control devices.
    NASCAR is deathly afraid of computers. That is proven by the fact that they are still racing V8 powered, rear wheel drive, carburated autos. There hasn’t been such a car produced by Detroit in probably 25 to 30 years.
    All modern cars use computers to control everything including the fuel injection.
    NASCAR, fearing computers could control some sort of traction control set up makes it VERY clear. If a team is caught using anything that is not allowed, the team will be penalized in such a way as to set an example to others that NASCAR is very serious.
    They never say what the punishment would be.
    Huge fines?
    Suspension of individuals?
    Suspension of the entire team?
    Who knows but as of now, no one appears to have tried it. If they have, they have been very lucky.
    My point is that here are the rules. Don’t like them, don’t play in our sandbox. The UCI doesn’t have to be “fair” about this at all.
    They really need to sack up and do better than they did with Astana.

  22. dave

    Oh what the hell. Let’s just have the whole sport divided into two halves. Riders who don’t cheat. And characters who prefer some “help”. There would be a sanctioning body for unassisted racers and one for the ” assisted” guys (motors, PED’s, blood dopers, etc.). It would produce a true champion and an assisted champion. There. Have at it crookeds!!

  23. Channel_zero

    Like the UCI itself, National Federations have a dual mandate to promote the sport and enforce the rules. We know that many rules go unenforced to promote the sport at the national and international level.

  24. Krakatoa East of Java

    Anytime a bike crashes on a downhill like that, and ends up on the ground with the rear wheel spinning in such fashion, and a free-pivot-point (such as the pedal), it’s going to rotate freely on its own due to an imbalance in centrifugal force. I’ve seen it happen to others, and it’s happened to me.

    Why would he have a motor engaged on a downhill with extreme curves? It makes no sense.

  25. 82medici

    “The presence, within or on the margins of, a cycling competition, of a bicycle that does not comply … constitutes technological fraud”

    So even if the bike was only in the pit and never ridden they would still be guilty. So dad, desperate or not, basically confessed to cheating for van den Driessche and her team.

  26. Huge G Rection

    What more is needed?? Your bike, with some sort of motor inside, was found in the pits in the World Championships. Please let us know what sort of due process is needed that would satisfy you??

  27. Krakatoa East of Java

    No Ana L Ekage. I admit to having crashed and then subsequently getting up and seeing my own bike spin around in circles (just like in the above video) back in 1985. Any physics person can explain it to you.

  28. barb

    “Oh der, I didn’t know it had a motor in it!” LOL
    Should be a lifetime ban for any cheating.

  29. Barry Sandland

    If not the team, then the mechanical crew has to be under the hammer. To think thy could be working the bike and not notice… Only if they are incompetent. So, if the rider gets a six moth ban, the mechanics can go w her. And sponsors need to place stipulations into their contracts allowing them to remove their frame/components from the team. Zero tolerance has to be wide enough for the real scope of infraction.


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