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Discovery made after rider was targeted at Category 3 race in the Dordogne

An amateur cyclist in France has reportedly been caught using a hidden motor during a Category 3 race in the Dordogne.

The 43-year-old man, who has not been named, is said to have been in the sights of France's national anti-doping agency, the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD), for some time.

Suspicions intensified following a race last week "where his ability to climb hills was striking," reports Telegramme.fr.

 

His bike was checked today by local Gendarmes at the Grand Prix de Saint-Michel-de-Double in an operation co-ordinated with the help of the AFLD's local representative, the former professional cyclist Christophe Basons, frozen out of the sport after raising suspicions that Lance Armstrong was doping.

State prosecutor for  Périgueux, Jean-François Mailhes, said: "We were advised by a representative of the AFLD of suspicions of [technological] fraud using an electonic system, in other words a little motor."

After the motor was found in the bike following the race, the rider was interviewed by Gendarmes, who are now trying to piece together his racing history and identify any prize money he may have won due to the illegal assistance.

"This wasn't an overnight operation," said the president of the French cycling federation (FFC), Michel Callot.

"My fear is that we'll find a lot of this kind of cheating in the amateur ranks because the technology is becoming accessible and we don't have the same means of detection as in professional cycling."

He added that he had requested the government and the UCI, whose new president, David Lappartient, has promised to combat motor doping for help in catching the cheats.

"I'm very sad for the amateur world," Callot added. "Among the pros, fear of the Gendarmes is without doubt much greater. 

"I think the stakes are also a lot higher if fraud is discovered [at pro level] for the sponsors and their image."

It is the first time a hidden motor has been found being used in competition in France.

One was found in an amateur race in Italy in August, however.

> Italian amateur accused of motor doping has a string of excuses

While there have been suspicions for almost a decade that hidden motors are being used at the highest levels of the sport, the only case uncovered to date relates to the motor found in the bike of the under-23 Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche at the UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships in 2016.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

11 comments

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beezus fufoon [945 posts] 1 month ago
9 likes

explains why I'm getting passed on the climbs by 12 year old girls, guys with only one leg, etc. etc.

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greasyrider [15 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

What means of detection do you need? Just take the winning bike, remove the seat and look down the seat tube. Shove a stick down there if you have to and see if it reaches down to the bottom bracket.

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Doper [74 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

That's the spirit! Can't wait till my motor arrives!  yes

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ColT [344 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I can see that this could be a problem in amateur racing.  I'm competent enough with tools, so I could go out and buy the kit and improve my bike. 

However, it seems rather odd to me that we have yet to have a 'rogue' mechanic turn whistle-blower.  If I were a mechanic on a pro team being asked to prep' bikes with motors, I'd be damn sure I kept some evidence. You know, just in case.  3

Or are we suggesting that the pro riders are fitting their own motors and keeping their bikes away from the mechanics?

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clayfit [107 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
greasyrider wrote:

What means of detection do you need? Just take the winning bike, remove the seat and look down the seat tube. Shove a stick down there if you have to and see if it reaches down to the bottom bracket.

won't work on Di2 bikes.  You'll find the battery down there.

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Jimmy Ray Will [797 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Had my first real experience of an e-bike the other week. I was riding around the local MTB centre, caught a group of people on some single track. At the front of the group were a couple in baggy shorts and t-shirts. 

As we popped out on to the firetrail climb I was most surprised when this couple started to simply ride away from me. 

My first thoughts were very much inward. I felt slow and useless as I watch this pair lazily lollop away from me. 

Until teh next single track, where I caught them, and more importantly caught sight of the battery pack on the downtube, where I instantly gave a huge sigh of relief.

So, my thoughts on this; If you could hid the battery, it is absolutely possible to fool people with an electric motor.

It is very demoralising to ride against, which assures me that apart from the odd freak, this won't be a massive problem in the peloton... no one would stand for it. 

Finally, as an activator for the masses, what a great thing. I think my missus would love MTB with an e bike. I am going to talk to her about it. 

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mike the bike [971 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

...... I think my missus would love MTB with an e bike. I am going to talk to her about it.  

My lady, having reached the age when knees start to complain about repetitive exercise, is now on her second e-bike.  We first bought a second-hand specimen to find out if she liked it and within months we were buying a spanking new one.

Be prepared to suffer on the climbs as you attempt to keep up!

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fenix [812 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

I've come across plenty of e bikes out on the road. It's good training chasing them down. They're limited to 16mph so you can get them eventually - it's just that they can do that on climbs.....

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LastBoyScout [309 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

Had my first real experience of an e-bike the other week. I was riding around the local MTB centre, caught a group of people on some single track. At the front of the group were a couple in baggy shorts and t-shirts. 

etc

When I was up at my local trails recently, only 2 people passed me and only one of them made it stick past the next fire trail - he was on an e-bike. Just wish he hadn't been sat 3' from my back wheel!

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kingleo [14 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

      75-year-old man wins the Tour de France.

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Stealth78 [4 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm not taking any chances, i'm getting motor equipped carbon wheels, they can scan the seat tube all they want! Move over Froome, here i come!

https://youtu.be/jBxfQJOHJxc?t=1m25s