X-ray specialist VJ Technologies was brought in by the organisers of the Tour de France to sniff out attempts at ‘mechanical doping’. Just as athletes use illicit drugs to enhance performance, some cyclists have also been caught using a hidden motor which provides additional power to the wheels at critical times.
In January 2016, the governing body of world cycling, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), made the first discovery of technological fraud in elite cycle racing when a bicycle containing a concealed motor was found using small hand-held magnetic resonance instruments.
This year at the Tour de France, the world’s largest and most prestigious cycle race, the UCI decided to significantly enhance the deterrence of technological fraud by hiring VJ Group’s VJ Technologies, a leader in innovative x-ray solutions, to develop and provide an in-field inspection solution that would absolutely identify any illegal components concealed within the frames or wheels of the bicycles.
The Innovative Solution comprised a VJ Technologies designed and manufactured portable x-ray source, large area digital detector, and VJ’s Vi3 image acquisition, processing and archival software, integrated within a small trailer that was towed by a car.
At the conclusion of the race, Mark Barfield, Director Technique of the UCI said, “It was great to work with VJ technologies and it certainly helped address the concerns felt by some [at the Tour de France]. They did an amazing job and I look forward to working with them again in the future.”
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