BOHEMIA, NY — VJ Technologies partnered with the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) to use a mobile x-ray inspection unit to test for technical fraud in bicycles at the 2018 Tour de France, after testing the prototype at the 2016 race.
The x-ray system is a sure way of detecting illegal components hidden in bikes, providing an image of what is actually on the inside of the bikes, clearly differentiating between legal wires or electronic gear shifters and illicit propulsion devices.
The x-ray inspection process was fully integrated after new UCI president, David Lappartient looked to VJ Technologies to help clean up cycling in 2017.
Lappartient was aware of the 2016 test and worked with VJ Technologies to expand the machine to a full mobile system. Under Lappartient, the UCI has increased punishments for technical fraud, with high fines and promises of a six months suspension for any cyclist found guilty.
At the Tour de France, the winner and seven additional cyclists had to have their bikes inspected, the total inspection time taking approximately 2-4 minutes. No hidden motors were discovered in any of the bikes so far, but the technology promises a new level of security for the sport of cycling.
The x-ray system was built in 10 weeks and VJ Technologies fully trained the UCI team on the inspection technology so that it can be used for all upcoming cycling races. The Vuelta a Espana (beginning August 25th) will be the next race that the technology is used for.
“The UCI had been using iPad based magnetic sensors and thermal cameras to check for hidden motors before and during each race, but all are prone to false alarms or being unable to operate in wet weather," said VJ Technologies General Manager of Inspection Services Steve Halliwell. "X-ray inspection provides an absolute and fool proof determination of hidden motors. The system is fully automatic and able to be operated by a single person, and takes only a few minutes, which is significantly less than the typical end of race drug tests which riders must take. So far no hidden motors have been discovered, a testament to the deterrence factor our new system provides.”
The response to the x-ray inspection has been overwhelmingly positive. The peloton has accepted the process as just another step they need to take for their racing careers and the mechanics have been extremely supportive of the process as well.
For more information, visit www.vjt.com.