On your bike: Thermal cameras to be used to detect cheats using motors during Tour de France

Belgian Femke Van den Driessche was caught using a motor at the Under-23 cyclocross world championships earlier this year

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 June, 2016, 6:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 June, 2016, 7:15pm

Thermal cameras will be used at the Tour de France to detect motors in bikes, the French Sports Secretary of State said on Monday.

In a joint news conference with Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, French cycling federation president David Lappartient and International Cycling Union (UCI) head Brian Cookson, Thierry Braillard explained that there would be random checks on the July 1-24 Tour.

“With this technology which has been approved by the UCI and by the Tour de France (organisers), those who will want to cheat will be taking very very big risks,” Braillard said.

“It’s a complement to what the UCI has been doing.”

The thermal cameras have been set up by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission at the request of the government.

“Those who want to cheat can be worried,” said Prudhomme.

Cycling scandal: UCI chief confirms a hidden motor found in frame of bike in new storm for the sport

The UCI has been using magnetic resonance testing to detect motors and both methods should be used on the Tour.

The magnetic resonance testing helped the UCI find one motor earlier this year in the bike of Belgian Femke Van den Driessche at the Under-23 cyclocross world championships.

Two months ago television station France 2, in collaboration with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, reported that hidden motors were used in the Strade Bianche one-day race and the Coppi e Bartali race in Italy this season.

The report used thermal imaging to show that five motors were hidden in the seat tube and two in the rear hub, but added they could not prove it beyond all reasonable doubt.