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French cycling league demands lifetime ban for motorized cheating

France’s National Cycling League (LNC) demanded that the Union Cycliste International (UCI) increase the punishment for motorized cheating to a lifetime ban in a letter to president Brian Cookson on Tuesday.

The French body, which is chaired by FDJ manager Marc Madiot, asked the UCI to “implement all necessary means to immediately stop all attempted fraud.”

The LNC is an umbrella organization that includes pro teams, race organizers, and other sports groups.

“Our DNA is affected, it affects the myth of the cyclist and our legendary riders,” the letter said. “We demand, as soon as possible, systematic controls and the strengthening of sanctions, suspension for life, against all those involved in these scams. No one imagines that a rider can act alone,” the letter said, before noting that LNC reserves the right to “to take action for justice and to preserve the integrity of our sport. ”

Rumors of motorized cheating have swirled since 2010, and appeared to be confirmed at the cyclocross world championships in late January, when a motor was found in the bike of Belgian Femke Van den Driessche.

That case is currently with the UCI’s Disciplinary Commission, and Van den Driessche has not yet been sanctioned. Rules relating to technological fraud were added to the UCI’s rulebook in January of 2015, and stipulate a minimum six-month suspension and a fine of 20,000 CHF for an individual. Teams can also be suspended and fined.

The UCI has already stepped up bike checks, testing over 90 bikes at La Méditerranéenne using a new tablet sensor.

“The UCI has invested considerable time and financial resources in this area and trialing new methods of detection is part of its commitment to ensuring its tests are as robust as possible,” the governing body said in a statement. “Intelligence has also been gained from active engagement with the industry and other information given to us which has enabled us to refine and improve our testing.”

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