• The UCI is fighting technology with technology (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The UCI has inspected 500 bikes at the Giro d’Italia as it continues a crackdown on technological fraud, or ‘mechanical doping’.
Sophie Smith

12 May 2016 - 8:14 AM 

Officials were at the start of stage five of the Giro on Wednesday morning openly using a tablet device to check for hidden motors in the spare bikes of teams at the race including Australian outfit Orica-GreeEdge.

The tablet technology, which was explained at a special demonstration at UCI headquarters in Switzerland recently, enables officials to non-invasively inspect for hidden motors through magnetic density measures. The technology is more efficient and less cumbersome than officials physically pulling bikes apart as has been the case previously.

A test official at the Giro said 500 bikes had been inspected “in the first couple stages” of the Grand Tour that is currently moving through southern Italy.

The UCI introduced bike checks in 2015 and the instance of technological fraud was noted though largely overlooked in the grander scheme of the CIRC report (which investigated patterns in doping) published the same year. The issue came to prominence in January when a motor was detected in the bike of 19-year-old racer Femke Van den Driessche at the under-23 cyclo-cross world titles in Zolder.

The UCI Disciplinary Commission last month handed Van den Driessche a six-year suspension for technological fraud.  

UCI Technical Manager Mark Barfield earlier this month estimated the governing body would inspect at least 10,000 bikes for motors during the season.