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UCI tests for hidden motors at Tour de Romandie all negative

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AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) The International Cycling Union has tested bicycles at the Tour de Romandie for using hidden motors and all the tests were negative.

The UCI said in a statement that 347 bikes belonging to all teams were tested on Friday and that it has made a total of 507 checks during the race.

''Our ability to reliably test so many bikes has transformed our work in this area and we will continue to test widely in all our disciplines to ensure that anyone tempted to cheat in this way knows they are highly likely to be caught,'' UCI President Brian Cookson said.

Earlier this year, a new scanning method was used that helped the UCI detect a technological fraud at a world championship race.

Femke Van Den Driessche of Belgium was banned from cycling for six years after a motor was found using magnetic resonance scans of bikes in the pits area at the women's world under-23 cyclo-cross race in January.

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It was the first such sanction.

The UCI said the scanners used are able to detect any disruptions to magnetic field it creates that could be caused by a motor, magnet or battery hidden in the bike's frame. That method, it claimed ''proved to be a flexible, reliable and highly effective tool which enables large volumes of bikes to be tested in short periods.''

The UCI said it tested other methods, including thermal imaging, x-rays and ultrasonic and all turned out to be ineffective.

It said tests have been conducted in other races and that ''it will continue to test heavily in all disciplines throughout the year.''

Recently, a French broadcaster and Italian newspaper alleged it used thermal cameras to detect suspected motors in bikes in two men's road races in March.

The Tour de Romandie started Tuesday and ends Sunday.