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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, February 1, 2016

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful. - Mae West

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Femke Van den Driessche denies owning motorized cyclo-cross bike

Here's our original story on the subject

In an interview with VRT Sport Femke Van den Driessche has denied owning the motorized bike confiscated at the world cyclo-cross championships. The website Flanders posted her tearful protestations that she is innocent of intentional wrongdoing. And to me, her denials certainly have the ring of truth. I hope she can put together enough evidence to prove her case.

Ven den Driessche said: "After my chain broke I got off and was told that there was something wrong with my bike. I didn’t know what was wrong. Then I saw that bike standing there. I don’t know how it got there I am more preoccupied with myself on days like that.

"That bike belongs to a friend of mine. He bought it from me at the end of last season. It is exactly the same bike as what I ride. The friend had ridden round the course with my brother before the race. He had left the bike against the lorry. One of the mechanics must have thought it was my bike and cleaned it up and brought it to me.

"The lad sometimes trains with me or one of my brothers. I never knew that that he had an electric motor fitted on his bike. He never told me. It is all a big mistake. I’m really shocked. I feel really bad. It’s not nice to be accused of something like this. I enjoy cycling and love my sport, but I realise that I now have a big problem.

"This is all very difficult for me. I do a lot for my sport. I have always peaked after the championships. I have lived for my sport. I think that my career is now over even though I hope to be given a second chance. I am not afraid of an investigation.

"It’s really bad. I had honestly nothing to do with it. There was nothing wrong with the bike that I raced on. I’ve done nothing wrong. If I’d been using a bike like that then my results would have been consistent throughout the season.”

The original story:

I don't normally cover cyclo-cross but...

January 31 update to the story below: The UCI has confirmed that the confiscated bike suspected of containing a motor did indeed have a motor inside the bike's frame. The bike belonged to Femke Van den Driessche, who was in the women's under-23 race.

A bicycle has been confiscated at the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Belgium after it was allegedly found to contain a motor.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) said it was investigating an incident of "technological fraud" in the women's under-23 race. The race was won by Great Britain's Evie Richards, but none of the podium finishers is under suspicion.

International Cycling Union off-road manager Peter Van Den Abeele says his control commissioners noticed a suspicious bike during the women's under-23 race on Saturday and immediately tested it for fraudulent use of technology to artificially increase speed.

''Now we will look further into this case. For the UCI, it is the first time that we see such technological fraud. It is a setback for us,'' Van Den Abeele.

The UCI said in a statement that the bike "has been detained for further investigation".

André Greipel wins two of four Mallorca races

Here's the report from Greipel's Lotto-Soudal team:

After the first André Greipel did also win the last race of the Challenge Mallorca. The German beat Nacer Bouhanni and Dylan Page in the sprint.

Andre Greipel

Greipel wins the Trofeo Playa de Palma on Sunday

Three Spaniards formed the break of the day: Imanol Estevez, Lluís Mas and Omar Fraile. They had a maximal advantage of six minutes. Just like Thursday Frederik Frison did lots of work at the head of the bunch. In the finale there was one climb, by that time two minutes lead were left. There were attacks uphill, but André Greipel didn’t get into any trouble. A bunch sprint in the streets of Palma was unavoidable. Cofidis set up a sprint train for Nacer Bouhanni, but the Lotto Soudal train was faster.”

Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “Today the race was even more perfect than Thursday, because the victory was even more convincing. Soon, three riders got ahead that we could control easily. Just like Thursday Frederik Frison did most of the chasing. He prepared himself well in the winter, he immediately performed well in his first race.”

“Before entering the last thirty kilometres, where there lay a climb on the course, we let the lead drop to two minutes. Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens then took over from Frederik and reacted to the attacks of among other Michal Kwiatkowski and Zdenek Stybar. Cofidis set up a train as well today, but ours was faster.”

“The team worked well together and that makes me happy. Our goal was to win a stage with André and we could immediately achieve that the first day. Also today was a success. We also had riders in our team for the two tougher races. Also those days we left our mark and set some nice results. Tiesj got fourth Friday and third yesterday; Tim was tenth yesterday. It’s could to see that our young riders keep developing and take the initiative themselves now. After today’s race the riders did an extra sixty kilometres. Tomorrow they can rest and then we will have three more days of training on the island.”

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary