Told You Department

Apr 17 2016


Mechanical doping used in Strade Bianche and Coppi e Bartali, claims investigation


“The two-page article in Corriere della Sera claims that the heat detector – which was disguised to look a video camera, managed to spot seven different motors being used at Strade Bianche and the Coppi e Bartali races. Five were hidden in the seat tube, with two hidden in the rear hub and cassette. The newspaper report and Stade 2 video report did not name any riders involved. However the French report- which lasted more than 20 minutes, recalled the numerous suspicions and accusations of mechanical doping that have emerged in recent years.”

“I know that motors exist, I’ve ridden a bike with one and I’ve met the inventor and talked about it. If people think they don’t exist, they’re fooling themselves, so I think it’s a justified suspicion. I believe it’s also been used in the peloton. It seems too incredible that someone would do it, but I know it’s real,” he said.

“To make sure it doesn’t happen, I don’t think there should be bike changes in races. Period. Unless you have a real mechanical problem. It’d take away the suspicion. I just hope the UCI is doing the right thing. Fifty or 100 watts is nothing for a motor. If you’re say riding at 400 watts on a climb, an extra 50 watts means minutes on a climb and there’s no real weight penalty.

“It’s like any sport but there will always be people trying to cheat. It’s a pretty shocking way to cheat if some of the top riders do it. Hopefully it’ll never surface and the UCI will nip it in the bud.

“It’s simple to check for, much easier than doping, but not by looking down the tube. You need a thermal heat gun, you can use it in the race. It can see from metres away if there a difference in the heat in the bottom bracket. I’d recommend that to the UCI.”
Greg Lemond also in Cycling News