Cyclocross

We're so into Cyclocross that we made this special page for it. Also publish a Tumblr about Suffer Faces.

Belgian Accused of Motor Doping Quits Sport

Today from the AP we learn that Femke Van Den Driessche will not defend herself at a disciplinary hearing this week and is quitting the sport. Femke was accused of using a concealed motor in her bike during the Under-23 cyclocross world championships in January in Belgium. As we shared when the news broke, the scandal confirmed motor doping exists and the reaction was swift because you can’t blame cheating with motors in bikes as a personal failure, but instead one from the manufacturing side of the sport. To us, it was another indication of how endemic cheating is in cycling as all other sport; including tennis and Sharapova. The biggest problem is it’s another omertà.

Previous Coverage

Following Femke’s move, let’s hope the UCI shares what they found in her bike.

Sven Nys Retires


As it was said by legendary Pacific Northwest Racer, Richard McClung

With the recent last race of Sven Nys, we’ve seen a lot of proclamations of “Pure class”, etc. Now, I don’t deny that Nys was the greatest ‘cross racer of all time thus far; and I’m not trying to be too judgmental (Nys knew who buttered his bread), but I think many either forgot, or never knew about this sordid little affair: The 2000 World Championships. Let me summarize: Richard Groenendal (Nys’ trade team teammate on Rabobank) forges an early lead. Nys then refuses to help his Belgian Worlds teammate and defending World Champion Mario DeClercq chase, much to DeClercq’s visible frustration. Be sure to watch the very uncomfortable post race interview at the end, and hear Nys deny he was under ‘team orders’. No one who knows a lick about bike racing believes that…

And with that, CX ends, Nys retires, and road season starts. We’re back riding too, just more off road, with road bikes.

Motor Doping on PRI

Crying

An emotional Van den Driessche Responds to cases or mechanical fraud on Sporza

BBC’s The World on PRI interviews Bike Hugger about mechanical doping, tonight on an NPR station in your listening area. Also see my Motor Omertà story from yesterday, and these news updates

As I said on Twitter this weekend too

Wasn’t My Bike I Was Racing should rank right up there with Unborn Twin AND Jack Daniels as worst doping excuses ever.

asfas

UPDATE

Just after posting this article, PRI’s The World story dropped on their site with quotes from David Schloss

“I’m not surprised someone put a motor in a bicycle,” says David Schloss, an editor at Bikehugger. “But I’m pretty saddened. I think that any doping really defeats the point of the competition. This just takes it to a whole new level.”

“My suspicions were tweaked the first moment when spectators and magazines and the TV shows all said that it wasn’t possible at all,” he says. “Because they all said the same thing about every type of biological doping.”

Motor Omerta: Motor Doping at CX Worlds

An eAssit motor from Vivax

Got back from a ride this morning, to news of motor doping at CX Worlds. Femke van den Driessche was participating in the U23 Women’s Championship, and a favorite to win, but was forced to abandon with one lap left to go. Her bike was inspected by mechanics post-race, when the motor was found. The UCI’s sporting director told Sport Wereld

“The UCI has defined technological fraud and we can confirm that this is the bike of Femke van den Driessche,” said Smets.

When we first learned about motor doping (motors embedded in bikes) the collective response from the racers, marketers, and managers strongly indicated to me that it was true. See, they protested way too much, just like the Doping Omertà before this. Now it’s a Motor Omertà.

Because the racers have no union to protect themselves (like other Pro sports) and shut news like this down, it’s even worse for the fans, and the biggest thing the sport has to reckon with is the total loss of trust.

I was not surprised in the least with this discovery, and to anyone that denied motors in bikes existed, you shouldn’t have been either. The motor was confirmed by the UCI AND considering they use fiber optic video to examine bikes, I don’t doubt the probable cause. The UCI has been getting ready for this for two years. They even developed prototype illegal bikes to prove the concept. At Koppenberg cross, Femke was 5% faster than all the other women, that may have been on the factors that got the UCI’s attention.

This is a developing story and we’ll follow up as we learn more. Like everyone else, I’m fascinated to see what the UCI caught. Was it a DIY or from a manufacture? For an example of how concealed motors work in bikes, see the Vivax eAssist product page.

Hoogerheide Highlights


Highlights from Hoogerheide and a taste of what’s to come this weekend at CX Worlds.

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