UCI to check for cyborgs.
UCI president Brian Cookson has made it clear that mechanical doping will not be tolerated. Now he has taken steps to ensure that no cyborgs will infiltrate the pro peloton.
“We’re taking cyborgs seriously and I say to anyone who is half cyclist, half machine, you will be caught,” said Cookson, speaking to reporters at the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland.
While rumors of mechanical doping have been floating around for several years, the specter of a human form of mechanical doping is spreading a chill over the sport.
Statements from critics that certain athletic performances are “inhuman” have created a new rumor that a cyborg may have won pro race. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, several cyborgs have already won gran fondo events in Europe.
“The technology is already there and I am sure it is happening,” said Mario Scubi, a source quoted by the Italian sports newspaper. “All you need is a robotics specialist and an interface designer. I think Vayer and Grappe are right — these performances are not normal, they are cyborgs.”
President Cookson will take an aggressive attitude toward cyborgs with checks beginning almost immediately. “Motors in bikes are bad enough, we can’t have motors inside the bodies of the riders themselves. I will not tolerate it,” said Cookson.
The question is, who would take such extreme risks to make themselves a cyborg in order to win a bike race? “You have to understand the incredible drive that athletes have. Some will take any drug, cut any corner, even if it means turning themselves into a cyborg,” said sports psychologist Allan Rosenstein. “I would be very tempted to x-ray a few of these guys at the Tour de France. The results might shock you.”
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, most of the parts required to build a cycling cyborg are readily available online. They cite an undisclosed source who claims to have already operated on a Masters rider, installing an electric motor in both thighs. “The rider didn’t care what happened to his body as long as he won some races,” said the source. “I gave him another 200 watts.”
Once the stuff of Hollywood fantasy, with TV shows such as the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, the idea of a cycling cyborg has come a long way. “Look at the film Ex Machina. This stuff isn’t theoretical, this isn’t make-believe, it’s happening right now, “said Michael Yamakaza, a roboticist at Stanford University in California. “You’re just fooling yourself if you think a cyborg isn’t headed up Alpe d’Huez very soon and very fast.”
It’s a disaster scenario that Cookson plans to short-circuit. “We’ve got enough problems in pro cycling. I’m dealing with ASO, doping, financial restructuring — I am not going to have cyborgs take over this sport.”