Gabor Cser, Andras Szatmary and Regina Schmidel were all using bikes with motors from EPowers and it’s these motors that have caused their disqualification.
The UCI said: “Following the E-MTB bike checks that took place today in accordance with section 13.2 of the 2020 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships Competition Guide, the President of the Commissaires’ Panel found that the “EPowers” bicycles did not comply with the requirements of the UCI Regulations.”
The section 13.2 regulation states that bikes must comply with the EN15194-2017 norm that ensures e-MTB motors provide pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and a maximum continuous rated power of 250W. To check that the bikes are compliant, every competitor’s bike was tested this morning using engine diagnostics, a tuning kit search and a rear wheel rollout measurement. The UCI allows a 5% tolerance is allowed either way on the EU standard but it seems the EPowers motors fell outside this.
The regulations also provide a list of approved manufacturers and EPowers was one of these until the ruling today, when the UCI removed them from the list. We spoke to Regina Schmidel today and she told us that the motor they were using had previously been approved by the UCI and travelled to the World Championships expecting to be able to race without any issue.
EPowers’ founder, Stefano Varjas, was the inventor of a hidden motor and magnetic wheels that were suspected to have been used in major professional races. He claims he has never knowingly sold his technology to a professional rider, but acknowledges his motor may have been purchased through intermediaries. That motor is not a pedelec motor, which provides differing power output based on the input of the rider, but a regular motor that is connected to the cranks and provides a constant power of up to 240 Watts. EPowers currently sells a range of carbon road bikes for non-competitive riders that come with the motor fitted but no mountain bikes. Varjas developed a version of this system specifically for the World Championships this year and believed it had been cleared by the UCI for racing but it was rejected by the Comissaire’s Panel on the eve of the race.
Every other bike passed the pre-race checks and the UCI will now perform random engine diagnostic checks on the start line in tomorrow’s race and the top 5 riders of each category as well as some random bikes will be taken directly to the testing control after the finish.