The first confirmed case of ‘mechanical doping’ earlier this year may have spurred the UCI to roll out heavy testing across all disciplines of cycling this season, but its effect on the market has been negligible, according to the industry.
Technological fraud was discovered in January when a rider was found to have raced on a bicycle with a hidden motor at the 2016 UCI cyclocross World Champs in Heusden-Zolder. The long-rumoured practice has led the UCI to prepare a new scanning method to discover the nefarious activity. The UCI is now testing for mechanical doping across different disciplines – including 507 random bike checks at the Tour de Romandie – but those worried about the impact on cycling and cyclocross specifically (where the practice was first confirmed) should allay their fears.
Zyro account manager Andy Oliver said: “It’s a talking point for riders in cafes or in the event car park, but I don’t think it has had an impact on the image of the sport.”
Keith Murray, UK bike sales manager for Scott Sports SA UK agreed that the impact has been very limited: “I don’t know if it’s a widespread problem in the professional ranks or not but from what I see it, the general public think she was on an e-bike!”
Charlie the Bikemonger was more blunt: “Most consumers really don’t care about racing. If road racing can survive Lance, who really cares enough for it to make a difference?”
Paul Caswell, Senior Brand Manager for Giro and Bell at Zyro added: “It has had absolutely no consequence to the grass roots sport of cyclocross.”