What would have been a bigger story doing the rounds during the Giro d'Italia was rather spoiled by the Landis doping accusations but nevertheless the issue of "bike doping" had us scratching our heads wondering if the whole thing was an elaborate if belated April Fool or just maybe the biggest scandal to hit cycling ever. Indeed, Lance Armstrong tweeted in exasperation words to the effect, "huh? bike doping - that's all we need!"
Today the mashup video below has hit the interwebs partly featuring Davide Cassani, an Italian former top professional turned cycling commentator, ripped off Italian TV. Partly showing the design and installation of an electric motor in a standard bicycle. And finally the really scandalous part where video from this year's Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders races are superimposed with 'evidence' that a World Champion cyclist was using just such a 'doped' bike.
Essentially, what we have is a little electric motor that fits down the seat tube and engages its little pinion with a corresponding gear on the bottom bracket axle - or pedal hub as it's described in the shaky on-screen translation.
A battery is concealed somewhere unspecifically out of sight around the bottom bracket area and discrete on-off buttons attached beneath the brake levers. Et voila, a potential Classic Road Race winning machine.
Of course, we're hoping that the whole thing is viral mischief whipped up over a beer by the marketing geniuses behind Gruber Assist an Austrian product from the Tyrolean mountains where taking the sting out of leisure and exercise cycling is a high priority. If it is, we're happy to assist in the spirit it's intended not least because it shows how things are progressing with electric-assist bikes.
Quite how happy a certain Swiss champion will be about all this, remains to be seen.