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Mechanical Doping: Lifetime Ban for Van den Driessche?

By Martin Mrazek

The newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reports that the Belgian rider, accused of using a bicycle with a hidden motor at the 2016 Cyclo-cross World Championships, might be facing the ’capital punishment’.

The UCI’s reported recommendation is a lifetime ban and a fine of 50,000 euros. Van den Driessche’s lawyers are unsurprisingly fuming and demanding ’a fair trial, not a sham’.

It looks like the UCI has listened to the public and many cycling personalities who demanded tough action.

“Working independently from the UCI, the Disciplinary Commission is the body in charge of imposing sanctions for breaches of the UCI Regulations,” says the official UCI statement.

“They have to suspend for life, for me they have to suspend for life,” said Eddy Merckx and Chris Wiggins agreed with the Belgian legend.

“Aside from ethics, you’ve got to ask a lot of questions of the athlete, especially the girl that they found it on because she was the favourite to win the race anyway. I can understand why people would dope in terms of what’s to be gained from it financially but to stick a motor in your bike, I don’t understand the logic behind that and winning a race because you’ve got an extra 200-odd watts in your bottom bracket. It is the same thing as doping, but I can’t see the logic in it,” said Wiggins.

Femke Van den Driessche, the European and Belgium's U23 champion, who allegedly used a mechanically doped bicycle at the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Zolder, Belgium, is going to stand in front of the Disciplinary Commission.

Femke Van den Driessche could become the example, deterring anyone from trying the mechanical doping. The Belgian rider maintains that the bike in question actually belongs to her friend whom she sold it to last year, and it was placed in the pits by accident.

The Belgian rider is going to appear before the UCI Disciplinary Commission next week in Aigle, Switzerland.