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Tour de France officials will scan participants' bikes to check for cheaters

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Le Tour de France 2015 - Stage Twenty One Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Following a prominent cheating incident earlier this year, participants in the upcoming Tour de France will have to have their bikes scanned for concealed electric motors and batteries. Cycling officials plan to conduct between 3,000 and 4,000 tests, the Union Cycliste Internationale said today. This technology has been used at multiple other races, but this will be the first time it is deployed at the Tour de France.

"Technological fraud tests" rely on a tablet, case, adapter, and software to scan a bike, its wheels, frame, groupset, and other components in under a minute. The scanner creates a magnetic field and then allows the tablet to detect interruptions to that field. The UCI says those disruptions often come from a motor, magnet, or battery. If they’re detected, officials will dismantle the bike and inspect it.

The scanners are the result of tests going back to 2015. Those included trials with thermal imaging, X-rays, and ultrasonic detection. Earlier this year, one professional cyclist was found to have concealed a motor in her bike at the sport’s world championships in Belgium.


Van Moof bike has an electric motor