Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus did the ride of his life on Wednesday at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia, and claimed his first world title at age 34.
He won the elite men’s individual time trial by riding 53.5 km in 1:02:29.45. His average speed was 51.368 km/h. (That’s 33.2 miles at 31.918 mph.)
After he finished his ride, an official from the sport’s governing body, the UCI, took Kiryienka‘s bike to a restricted area and conducted an inspection to check if there was a motor in the frame.
This photo, provided to Business Insider by a member of Kiryienka’s support staff, shows an official testing Kiryienka’s Pinarello Bolide for a motor in the frame’s bottom bracket, which they had to open up to a get a look inside:
The UCI didn’t find a motor, and the rider who’s nicknamed “Kiry” was allowed to accept his gold medal and rainbow jersey..
What the UCI was looking for in Kiry’s bike were signs of what has been called “mechanical doping” or “bike doping,” even if many don’t think it’s a real problem in professional cycling. Still, the UCI is taking the matter — or at least the possibility of it — very seriously.
When asked by Business Insider about the inspection, the UCI replied by email with this statement:
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) takes extremely seriously the issue of technological fraud such as concealed electric motors in bikes, and has therefore added far-reaching sanctions in its Regulations. We have been carrying out controls for many years and although those controls have never found any evidence of such fraud, we know we must be vigilant. We have carried out several unannounced checks on this year’s Tour de France and other Grand Tours. The 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond is the latest event where bikes have been controlled this season, including all top 3 riders of each race. These are extensive controls and nothing was found.
Though Kiryienka upset the favourites at worlds on Wednesday, he likely would have been in the top 10. It’s just that Martin and Dennis were so widely expected to win.
Kiryienka normally rides for Britain’s Team Sky as a support rider for Chris Froome, the two-time Tour de France winner. Sky says Kiry is “best known for his power, consistency and machine-like riding style.” He won bronze in the world TT before, and he has won stages in the Tour de France and the Tour of Spain.
This is a shot of the bike Kiry rode and became world champion on, pictured shortly after the check:
And here’s Kiry giving his first signature as world champion:
The world championships finish on Sunday with the elite men’s circuit race in downtown Richmond.
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