Technological doping in cycling, a new way of cheating

Technological doping in cycling, a new way of cheating

Doping is one of the most controversial aspects of the sport as it has the ability to transform the heroes into villains. It inevitably leads to social rejection and extends to many disciplines, although some of them, such as cycling, were certainly more involved than others, or at least their cases were the most significant or most covered.

Talking about doping means that the athlete took a kind of substance that helps to better excel, to better resist fatigue ... In fact, it creates an artificial advantage over its competitors, an advantage that does not come from a hard work acquired during training, but a quicker way that may even be harmful for your health at short and long term.

For a while appeared another form of doping in the world of cycling, a doping that increasingly makes speak and began to be publicized with the case of the Belgian cyclist Femke Van den Driessche. This is the mechanical doping which consists in manipulating the bike by adding a certain type of electric motor. This type of case which surely may have ended with the career of the athlete and which may seem excessive and even a bit surreal, begins to appear in the cycling world.

Mechanical doping

The event in question took place at the U23 World cyclo-cross in 2016 when, it seems, Femke Van den Driessche had tried to ride a fake bike with an engine. Her case is already part of the history of sport, as she became the first case in which a mechanical doping was confirmed. In addition, she had just been proclaimed Europe champion in this category and was therefore one of the favorites for the title. However, it should be noted that the bike in question was not the one she used during the race, but the one that was in his box, so that his father maintained from the beginning that someone had placed it there to harm her.

But there is not only with an electric motor that you can perform mechanical doping. The latest informations reveal technology innovations which are much more subtle and difficult to detect, such as electromagnetic wheels: via electrical wires you can provide an electromagnetic source that can provide up to 60 watts of power.

Faced with this new problems, the UCI, alerted of the existence of this possibility, began to carry out exhaustive checks. UCI uses methods and tools of the latest generation such as thermal imaging cameras, X-rays or magnetic resonance. Whatever the efforts, they are minimal to prevent that this new form of doping affects even more the image of a sport like cycling, which in the past, has been the subject of all attentions and had virtually been doomed to the abyss in more than one occasion.

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