Pro cyclo-cross rides into ‘technological doping’ scandal

cyclo cross technological scandal competitor
Francisco de Casa Gonzalez/123RF
With performance-enhancing drugs supposedly now out of the pro-cycling picture, could it be that one or two shady competitors are now turning to technology to help get their wheels spinning faster?

The discovery of a motor inside the frame of a bicycle during the world cyclo-cross championships in Belgium over the weekend clearly points to at least one incident of foul play, and will do little to instill confidence in the already tarnished sport.

Union Cycliste International (UCI), cycling’s governing body, has confirmed it’s investigating the incident, which involves Belgian under-23 rider and current European Champion Femke Van den Driessche.

Accusations of what the UCI is calling “technological doping” have been made before in professional cycling, though nothing’s ever been proved. This time, however, officials have confirmed the discovery of a mechanical aid fitted inside a competitor’s bike.

UCI coordinator Peter Van den Abeele told Belgian sports broadcaster Sporza that a bike belonging to Van den Driessche was examined in the pits during a race “and found to be in violation of the rules.”

According to reporter Martin Vangramberen (via Cycling Tips), officials became concerned when a scan of the bike flagged up something suspicious inside the frame.

“When the saddle of the tube was removed, there were electrical cables protruding from the tube,” Vangramberen said. “When they wanted to remove the crankshaft, something that is normally easy, it was not possible because the crankshaft was stuck. The motor was in there.”

Details of the discovered motorized device haven’t been released.

Van den Driessche insists there’s been a big mistake, telling Sporza (via Cycling News) there’d been “nothing in the bike that I used at the start of the race,” adding, “I train hard….it’s no fun to be accused like this. I hope they see the truth.”

Another report has the 19-year-old cyclist claiming there’d been some kind of mix-up, with the bike at the center of the incident apparently owned by another person she’d been training with.

Depending on the outcome of the UCI’s investigation, the rider could face a competition ban of six-months and a fine of at least 20,000 Swiss francs (about $20,000), although the penalties could turn out to be much more serious.

Outdoors

Keep your noggin protected in style with this 3D-printed bike helmet

Kupol is the bike helmet that uses 3D printing to improve the design, making it safer, more comfortable, and better ventilated than traditional cycling helmets while remaining lightweight and attractive at the same time.
Cars

Just 10 people will get to put this limited-edition Audi R8 in their garages

The 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus Competition makes use of Audi's motor sports experience to turn up the performance dial. Decreased weight and increased aerodynamic downforce make this R8 a track monster.
Web

Feed your fandom: These are the best YouTube channels for sports lovers

If you're a cable cutter who still wants to enjoy quality sports highlights and analysis, YouTube is the place to go. There are plenty of great sports-centric channels on YouTube, each of which provides great highlights and top-shelf…
Cars

Porsche upgrades German factory to build Taycan electric cars

A Porsche factory that currently builds the automaker's popular sports cars will soon begin churning out Taycan electric cars. In preparation, Porsche is upgrading the factory to be high tech and low emissions.
Emerging Tech

Ekster 3.0 lets you ask, ‘Alexa, where did I leave my wallet?’

Ekster's newest smart wallet is its best yet. It's slimmer than ever, boasts a neat card-dispensing mechanism, and will even let you know where it is, thanks to smart speaker integration.
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.
Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Wearables

Skydio’s self-flying drone now has an Apple Watch app for flight prep

Skydio's clever R1 autonomous drone now has its own Apple Watch app, making flight preparations simpler than ever. The $2,000 flying machine is now also selling at its first retail outlet — Apple Stores in North America.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.
Emerging Tech

You’re so vein: Palm-based biometric system could help confirm your identity

Move over, Face ID! The next biometric security systems could rely on analyzing the unique vein patterns in your palm print. Here are some of the ways the technology could prove useful.
Emerging Tech

For only $4,950, you can get jetpack lessons from the world’s only instructor

Have you ever dreamed of flying using a jetpack? JetPack Aviation founder -- and the world's only qualified jetpack teacher -- David Mayman is now offering a day of flight instruction.
Emerging Tech

Biologists have found a hormone that could make space farming possible

Researchers have shown how space farming may be possible. By encouraging plants to excrete a certain hormone, they’ve demonstrated that crops can thrive despite challenging conditions, such as low-nutrient soil and microgravity.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…