USAC, FLIR Systems partner to combat motor doping

USA Cycling and the world’s leading thermal imaging manufacturer, FLIR Systems, recently partnered at the 2016 Volkswagen Professional Road National Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C., to monitor bicycles for illegal motors and components.

“Like all cheating, we take mechanical doping very seriously,” said Chuck Hodge, USA Cycling technical director. “To ensure a level playing field in this crucial event, we teamed with FLIR Systems to use thermal cameras to monitor bikes in the U.S. professional road races.”

USA Cycling used the FLIR T640 thermal imaging camera in the professional men’s and women’s races on May 28. The cameras detect heat and surface temperature that is emitted by people, objects and materials.

Both races were filmed with the FLIR T640 during critical points of the race and in locations where motors were likely to be used. These images were reviewed for any suspicious heat signatures. No illegal components were found at the event.

“FLIR’s thermal imaging cameras allow you to see heat that is normally invisible to the naked eye,” said Travis Merrill, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of FLIR Systems. “These cameras not only allow you to see in total darkness, adverse weather, haze and smoke, but they can detect unnatural heat sources like those used in mechanical doping.”

USA Cycling is working on a multi-faceted approach to detecting mechanical doping, and plans to utilize this and other technologies in the future.

Photo by Jonathan Devich/USA Cycling