Skip to main content

Pro cycling will employ new technology to combat ‘mechanical doping’

Fight against technological fraud - X-ray unit demonstration

Pro cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste International (UCI) announced extensive new measures to crack down on what it calls “technological fraud.” The organization is promising to use an array of technologies to ensure that pro riders aren’t installing hidden electric motors on their bike that could give them a major competitive advantage over the rest of the peloton. These new methods of scanning arrive just as the 2018 cycling season gets underway with the hopes of preventing widespread cheating before it begins.

For the 2018 season, the UCI will continue to use the thermal imaging cameras and magnetic scanning tablets that is has employed over the past couple of years in an effort to catch riders in the act. But, those devices have come under increasing scrutiny with investigators in France and Germany showing ways to potentially evade detection.

In response to those allegations, the UCI has also purchased an X-ray unit that is mounted inside a cargo van. That system can reportedly generate an X-ray image of a bike in less than five minutes, which should reveal any hidden motors or other devices. That van, which is said to be completely safe for its operators, the riders, and the general public, will be driven to most major races this season and will be used to verify the outcome of those events. Those races will include the single-day cycling Classics and Grand Tours, such as the Tour de France.

UCI X-Ray machine for bikes
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The UCI also joined forces with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) to create a new magnetometer that is about the size of a smartphone. The device can be mounted inside a bike and is used to detect hidden motors by searching for stray magnetic fields that appear throughout a race. Riders will sometimes swap out bikes or wheels throughout an event, making it more difficult to actually detect and find a hidden motor. The magnetometer would be a constant on the bike however and would alert officials of any unusual magnetic activity that would be the telltale sign of “mechanical doping.”

In the future, the UCI said that it plans to add RFID tags to bikes and wheels that will make it easier for officials to investigate suspicious activity. Those tags will allow quick and easy identification of a bike, or its individual parts, when scanning for hidden motors.

To date, only one athlete has been caught using a motor in a bike during a sanctioned event. In 2016, Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche was caught using such a device while competing in a cyclocross event in her home country. Other pro riders have been accused of such activity in the past, but so far none have actually been caught using the motor.

Editors' Recommendations

Kraig Becker
Kraig Becker is a freelance outdoor writer who loves to hike, camp, mountain bike, trail run, paddle, or just about any other…
I was wrong. E-bikes are so practical, they’re a transit cheat code
An Aventon Level 2 ebike sits outside a grocery store.

Confession: Despite loving both bikes and gadgets, e-bikes never excited me. Compared to my bicycle, e-bikes seemed unfair. Compared to my motorcycle, they seemed slow. Compared to my car, they seemed impractical.

But with $1,500 federal e-bike rebates potentially on the horizon at part of E-Bike Act, I decided it was past time to reconsider. Not just because 30% off would make them way more accessible, but because the entire idea that e-bikes could be worthy of a rebate changed the way I looked at them: less as toys, more as transit. Had I written off an entire way of getting around because I was looking at it the wrong way?

Read more
Upway launches one of the best marketplaces for certified e-bikes, new or not
Man holding ebike from Upway in a field, lifestyle image.

This content was produced in partnership with Upway.
It wasn't too long ago that e-bikes were a rare sight, but all of that has changed, and rightfully so. Electric bikes are all over the road these days, and there are many brands either venturing into the technology, to launch their own versions of the sustainable transportation option or reiterating existing and traditional designs. From Aventon to Schwinn, or RadPower to Momentum, with so many opportunities, the prevailing question is, where do you go to find the best deals and the best information about these brands and their e-bike models? The answer is Upway, the number one certified electric bike provider and an official partner to many of the aforementioned brands.

What is Upway, exactly? It's a marketplace, specializing in e-bikes, featuring an inventory that's sourced from some of the best brands in the world. There are American brands -- like Specialized, Cannondale, and RadPower -- and European brands -- like Riese, Muller, and VanMoof. The best part is the discounts, offering up to 60% off retail, for a plethora of brands. Upway is on a mission to make sustainable mobility affordable for everyone. It's also one of the best places to go for a new or pre-owned e-bike, and here's why:

Read more
EcoFlow launches Delta 2 Max solar generator for home emergencies and outdoor adventures
ecoflow's delta max portable power station on a table

EcoFlow, a manufacturer of portable energy solutions, has announced the launch of the Delta 2 Max -- an eco-friendly solar generator that could replace your current gas generator. The device clocks in at 2,048 watts and should deliver enough power to keep your home running for two days as an emergency backup (or many more if you’re using it as an off-grid power source).

The original Delta Max was a popular item for outdoor adventures, as it could connect to the existing lineup of portable EcoFlow solar panels to juice up gadgets while out in the backcountry. That legacy continues with the Delta 2 Max, which features an upgraded lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery for a longer life cycle and faster charging.

Read more