Tour de France: the UCI says it has carried out more than 700 mechanical doping controls

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The UCI said it detected no signs of mechanical doping during this year’s Tour de France, publishing a breakdown of the tests it has carried out on the 15 stages completed so far.

The governing body released the statistics on the race’s third rest day on Monday, saying it had carried out a total of 712 checks on the bikes, carried out before and after the stages.

He said 593 pre-checks were carried out using magnetic tablets, with 119 post-stage examinations using X-ray technology. According to the sport’s governing body, all tests were negative.

“The UCI recalls that checks are carried out at the end of each day on the bicycles used by the stage winner, the riders wearing the different leader’s jerseys, three or four riders drawn by lot and the riders arousing suspicion, for example following the pre-stage scan, an abnormally high number of bike changes or other incidents observed by the UCI Video Commissaire,” he explains.

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Mechanical doping, or technological fraud, as the UCI calls it, first came to attention when a bike intended for use by Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche at the 2016 cyclocross world championships s was found to contain a hidden engine.

The former reigning European Under-23 champion and Belgian Under-23 champion was stripped of both titles, suspended for six years and also ordered to pay a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs.

Rumors and accusations of mechanical doping had existed before and after the Van den Driessche affair, but no other top riders were found guilty of using such motors.

The UCI carried out 1,008 checks during last year’s Tour de France, also without any positive tests.

He said ahead of this year’s race that his test and control team will use three different tools, namely magnetic tablets, a mobile X-ray cabinet, as well as handheld devices using backscatter and transmission technologies.

Before the race, the UCI said that “before each of the 21 stages, a UCI Technical Steward will be present in the team buses to check all the bikes used at the start of the day’s stage”.

It’s unclear whether the statement was mistranslated, but the suggestion that all bikes would be tested every day does not match the statistics released on Monday. 593 tests over 15 stages on average at 39.5 bikes per stage. 176 runners started the race.

Speaking on Monday, UCI road and innovation manager Michael Rogers said testing would continue until the final stage in Paris. “It is fundamental for the UCI that the integrity of cycling competitions is ensured,” he said in a UCI press release on Monday.

“The comprehensive and effective anti-fraud technological arsenal put in place for the Tour de France 2022 plays an important role in this regard.

“Tour de France 2022 bike testing will continue over the final six stages at the same pace as in the first two weeks of competition.”

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