• Two-time Tour de France winner, Chris Froome is in Australia for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour (Kathryn Watt)Source: Kathryn Watt
The UCI says cheats will be caught as the sport reels from the first confirmed case of mechanical doping.
Cycling Central

2 Feb 2016 - 6:18 PM 

Reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome has called for more bike testing as the sport reels from its first confirmed case of mechanical doping.

Brian Cookson, president of world governing body the UCI, signalled more action and promised riders who cheated by putting motors in their bikes would be caught.

Belgian teenager Femke Van den Driessche is pleading innocence after officials checking her bike at the world cyclo-cross championships found a motor.

The UCI started bike checks because of persistent rumours about mechanised doping. But this is the first time it has caught a top-level rider at a race.

Cookson confirms motorised bike find at CX worlds
The electric motor was discovered inside the frame of the machine allegedly being used by teenager Femke Van den Driessche at the world Cyclo-cross championship in Belgium, Brian Cookson, president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), said.

The case comes as cycling continues to rebuild its trashed reputation in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal - a watershed moment for a sport long associated with physical doping.

Froome said when he spoke to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission, formed in the wake of Armstrong's downfall, he warned them about the spectre of mechanised doping.

"For the last few years now, there have been rumours about motors being concealed within the bikes," Froome said.

"I said (to the commission) 'listen, from my point of view, there are these rumours and it would be my advice that the UCI implement controls and measures to start checking bikes more regularly'.

"Over the last couple of seasons, my bike has been checked and dismantled at least a dozen times.

"They are taking the threat seriously and, hopefully, this will mean they only increase the number of checks they do on the WorldTour level."

Froome, in Melbourne for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, said he had no idea how big a fresh problem cycling had on its hands.

"At the moment, we only have rumours to go on," he said.

"All I can hope is the authorities take this matter really seriously and implement more and more random controls - throughout cycling.

"That's the only way forward; the same way that the authorities have approached doping."

Froome tempered expetations for the 63rd edition of the Australian race, his first hit out for the season as he prepares for a defence of his Tour crown.

“It’s been almost five months now since my last race so I’m not too sure what to expect,” he said. “Training has gone well throughout the winter and I’ve had a good block of training down in Adelaide with some of the guys from the Tour Down Under.

 “This week will be a good test for me to see just where I’m at.

Joining Froome for the 3-7 Feburary event will be in-from British Road Champion Peter Kennaugh, who is fresh off a victory at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Colombian climber Sebastian Henao, Italian Salvatore Puccio and Ian Boswell.

“I think we’ve got a great team here, a strong line-up of guys who can be competitive throughout the race. With any luck we could be looking at the overall victory, he said.

“That’s something that’s actually quite exciting about coming down here. Racing against guys who I don’t really know because they’re not over on the WorldTour and I don’t know their names.

“It could be an interesting week to try and keep track of everyone and see who we’re really up against.”