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Belgians eyeing $44,000 motor-detection device

The Belgian Cycling Federation (RLVB) is considering spending 40,000 euros ($44,514) on a device to detect motorized cheating.

The announcement, made to Belgian press, comes a month after Belgian Femke Van den Dreissche was alleged to have a motor hidden inside her bike at the cyclocross world championships. Under UCI rules, both Van den Dreissche and the Belgian federation, which she was racing for at the time, could be suspended and fined.

“In the wake of events in Zolder, a manufacturer came to us with his machine,” said Jos Smets, RLVB technical director. “And on paper, the machine appears to be effective.” It also costs 40,000 euros.

The UCI recently used a scanner attached to a tablet computer to check 90 bikes at La Méditerranéenne, a road race in France, and UCI president Brian Cookson has indicated detection technology is relatively inexpensive. Smets disagrees. “It is not easy to find the right, reliable equipment,” he said.

Prior to the UCI’s scanner method, which involved simply waving the scanner near various parts of the frame and wheels, the governing body took a more analog approach, pulling cranksets off bicycles and inspecting them visually.

The sport’s major stakeholders, including the UCI and Tour de France organizer ASO, have voiced unanimous concern over the motorized cheating issue, and have called for an effective solution to be put in place immediately.