• Belgian Femke Van Den Driessche was accused of technological fraud at the 2016 cyclo-cross world championships (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Belgian under-23 rider Femke van den Driessche made headlines for all the wrong reasons in January when a motor was allegedly found in the bike she used to compete in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, held in her home country.
By
Cycling Central

15 Mar 2016 - 11:13 AM  UPDATED 15 Mar 2016 - 11:22 AM

The 19-year-old unconvincingly claimed the bike belonged to a friend and she had used it by mistake.

Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported that the UCI Disciplinary Commission would urge for a fine of 50,000 Euros (AU$73,770) and a lifetime ban.

Given the high financial costs of defending her actions, let alone the fine, van de Driessche has retired from racing cyclo-cross. This means she will not have to attend the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) independent disciplinary hearing, which was set to to take place today.

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UCI sends "motorised doping" case to disciplinary commission
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has referred the case of Femke Van den Driessche to its Disciplinary Commission.
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.

"After consulting with my lawyers and my family, I have decided to discontinue my defence at the hearing in Aigle (the UCI's headquarters in Switzerland),” Van den Driessche said in a statement, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

"I have decided for myself to stop cyclo-cross. The costs of the meeting in Switzerland will be too high for me. An acquittal is impossible - the bike was in my pit zone.

"I thank all the people who supported me and still support - my lawyers, friends and supporters.

"I want to continue my life in peace and serenity and hope that everyone will have some understanding for this and will respect this."

Her short and simple statement and withdrawal contrasts heavily with the lengths that cyclists on much higher salaries go to in order to contest their innocence in doping-related matters. Given van den Driessche’s ‘bike-doping’ case is the first of its kind, the fall-out has been particularly tough and sets a precedent for future cases.

Bikes have been scanned by the UCI at major cycling events, across all disciplines, after rumours began that motors were being hidden inside frames.

On January 30 this year, the UCI introduced new regulations for technological fraud. Convicted riders can now expect a suspension of at least six months and a fine of up to 200,000 Swiss Francs ($AU 269,699).

UCI president Brian Cookson affirmed in March that the UCI would request the toughest possible sanctions in such cases.