Tour_de_France_logoA wide reaching series of checks for hidden motors in bicycles is to be employed at the 2016 Tour de France, Sunday’s French weekly le Journal du Dimanche has reported.

Three systems will be used for the checks; an already existing magnetic resonance method screening the start and finish lines, a motorbike mounted thermal detector and a third system provided by the French state from military sources.

The Tour gets underway next weekend at Mont Saint Michel and runs from July 2-24.

The Journal de Dimanche cited evidence suggesting motorised cycle use had been strongly suspected at recent Tour de France and other races.

“This problem is worse than doping. The very future of cycling is hanging in the balance,” French SportsMinister Thierry Braillard told the newspaper.

“Under my orders research centres have been hard at work to establish the best way to combat this menace.”

Femke Van den Driessche of Belgium was banned for six years for the first recorded case of using hidden motors in racing last April after early motor check tests were used.

The motor was found in a bike used by the under-23 European cyclo-cross champion at the under-23 World Championships in Belgium in January.

The 19-year-old was banned for six years and fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,000/18,180 euros). All of Van den Driessche’s results from October last year have been annulled and she was ordered to return all prize money and medals. – Agence France-Presse

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