News

UCI insists fight against technological fraud remains priority

Cycling federation will resume controls once racing restarts despite budget cuts that include Péraud's exit.

The UCI insists it remains committed to the fight against technological fraud despite recent budget cuts that saw the exit of its anti-fraud manager at the end of June.

On Tuesday, the UCI confirmed reports by L’Equipe that ex-pro Jean-Christophe Péraud, who was tapped to be the point man on the issue in 2017, was released due to budget shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UCI promised that the issue remains on the front-burner despite the belt-tightening, and confirmed that anti-fraud controls will resume once racing kicks back in with the WorldTour next month.

“The UCI’s commitment to, and investment in, the fight against technological fraud remains unchanged,” the UCI said in a statement Tuesday. “The UCI will continue to seek to innovate, develop, and invest to combat new and future technologies which compromise our sport’s integrity.”

The issue of “motor doping” was a campaign centerpiece for David Lappartient, who was elected president of the UCI in 2017. Under the Frenchman’s watch, the UCI has expanded the federation’s reach and on-sight controls for technological fraud. Péraud joined in late 2017 as “Equipment and Fight against Technological Fraud Manager” to lead the effort.

The UCI expanded tests with magnetometer tablets as well as an X-ray machine it brought to races, as reported in 2018 at the Giro d’Italia, when bikes were tested at mountaintop finish lines. Trackers were recently introduced that can be deployed on all the bikes in the peloton and are capable of detecting possible engines at any time during the race, the UCI claims.

“Confronted in recent months with a reduction in its income due to the current health crisis (coronavirus pandemic), the UCI has been forced to reorganize some of its activities as part of its program,” the statement read. “In this context, it ended its collaboration with Jean-Christophe Péraud, who had joined our Federation at the end of 2017.”

Despite Péraud’s exit, the UCI says that its commissaries will be back on the ground next month at WorldTour races doing controls.

“The UCI team that worked alongside Jean-Christophe Péraud, our technical commissaries, our service providers, and our National Federations remain in place and will all continue tests and controls (using a range of technologies) in upcoming races in particular once the UCI WorldTour season restarts in August,” the UCI said.

“The fight against technological fraud has been one of the priorities of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for several years. The integrity of our competition results and the reputation of our sport are at stake. Increased resources have been deployed with the arrival of as President of our Federation.”