UCI announces Bike Whereabouts testing program.
In response to continual allegations of “motorized doping,” the UCI has announced today in Lausanne, Switzerland, a new Whereabouts program for testing race bikes around the clock.
Close on the heels of L’Equipe chief cycling writer Philippe Brunel’s claim that Alberto Contador used a motorized bike in the Giro, UCI president Cookson has outlined a stringent set of measures designed to eliminate the possibility of motor power in race bikes.
“We’re taking a hardline and we’re taking it now,”said Cookson. “Riders and teams must now alert our bike testers of the exact location of the bikes at all time. This is an around-the-clock protocol — 4am in the morning, anywhere in the world.”
Similar in nature to the Whereabouts program for the Biological passport, the Motors Off Initiative, requires a constantly updated file on where the bike can be found for a full examination.
The UCI will use several specially equipped vans, heat sensor guns, an X-ray machine and an old fashioned hacksaw to ensure the bikes are free of any motorized device.
It’s an ambitious and bold program but one the UCI believes is absolutely necessary. “We’re at a crossroads in cycling. There are many problems,” says Andre Pistonay, the new head of Anti-Motorized Doping. “We have drugs, a bad financial model, a revenue sharing crisis, a calendar malfunction, a lack of sponsors — the list goes on. However, we are not going to have a motor issue.”
Both Alberto Contador and classics superstar Fabian Cancellara have openly ridiculed the idea that they’ve used motorized bikes. The Spaniard and recent winner of the Giro d’Italia called the allegations by L’Equipe “ridiculous.” Contador’s Specialized race bike was checked for a motor several times during the Italian grand tour.
According to sources with knowledge of the anti-motorized doping initiative, several WorldTour squads, including Sky, BMC and Cannondale-Garmin have already agreed to set up detailed profiles on all their bikes and install a GPS chip so they can be tracked at a moments notice.
In fact, noted anti-doping advocate, Optum’s Phil Gaimon, who has a tattoo of a bar of soap and the word “Clean” on his arm, has decided to get a second tattoo with a sponge and the words “Clean Bike” on his other arm.
However, the patron of the peloton, the greatest grand tour rider of his generation, Alberto Contador has given his final word on the bike whereabouts program: “This is a joke.”