UCI planning to step up mechanical doping measures from 2020

The UCI is pushing ahead with plans to step up the fight against mechanical doping, revealing plans to fit bikes with magnometer tracking devices and roll out an upgraded version of its tablet scanner from 2020.

Preventing mechanical doping – the use of hidden motors – was a cornerstone of the manifesto with which David Lappartient was elected UCI president in 2017. Last year saw new initiatives introduced, including post-race X-ray scanning and in-race thermal camera monitoring.

Those measures were unveiled at the governing body’s headquarters last March, alongside plans for the magnometer tracking device, developed alongside the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission. At that point, the technology appeared to be a work in progress, with no clear timeline on its development. However, the UCI announced on Thursday that, following successful trials at last year’s Tour de France, it is ready for manufacturing and could be rolled out as early as next year.


The tracker, which could be “fitted on every bike in the peloton”, would detect changes in magnetic field to reveal the presence of a motor hidden in the frame or of electromagnetic-powered wheels.

“A first test phase, carried out at the Tour de France 2018 in collaboration with a number of teams, has demonstrated the feasibility of the method, which can detect hidden operating motors,” read the UCI’s statement. “The current phase involves identifying an industrial partner in charge of manufacturing the trackers with the introduction of a first version considered for 2020.”

The UCI is also set to upgrade the tablet devices that are used by UCI officials to manually scan bikes for hidden motors before the start of races. The technology was introduced by Lappartient’s predecessor, Brian Cookson, but its effectiveness has been called into question.

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