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Cyril Fontayne claims he bought banned technology due to back problems -- but it helped him win 500 euro in prize money

The French cyclist caught using a hidden motor in a Category 3 race at the weekend has claimed he is not the only rider using the illegal technology.

> Amateur rider caught using hidden motor in French race

The rider, identified in the French media as 43-year-old plasterer Cyril Fontayne, also insists he wasn’t trying to obtain an advantage over his rivals.

Instead, he maintains he was trying to feel more comfortable on his bike as he recovered from back problems, reports 20minutes.fr.

Fontayne had been competing in the Grand Prix de Saint-Michel-de-Double in the Dordogne on Sunday, an event organised by his club, SA Mussidan.

He had been in the sights of France’s national anti-doping agency, the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD), for some time after fellow riders raised suspicions about the sudden improvement in his results.

After abandoning the race, which he was leading, due to a puncture, he attempted to drive home but the AFLD’s regional representative, the former pro cyclist Christophe Bassons, drove after him and the hidden motor was discovered.

The cyclist has subsequently admitted to a state prosecutor that he had used the bike in five races since 21 August, winning 500 euro in prize money.

As a result, he may face charges of fraud or attempted fraud, with the Gendarmerie continuing to investigate the case. The case is also likely to result in sporting sanctions

He said that he had bought the frame, which appears to be a copy of one from Lapierre, from a Chinese website.

The motor, which Bassons says is a Vivax Assist, was sourced online in France. Together, the frame and motor cost Fontayne 3,000 euro.

He claimed that he bought the motor because he was suffering from sciatica and recovering from a herniated disc that forced him to give up cycling for three months.

“I did it to feel less pain at the end of races,” he told the radio station France Bleu Périgord on Monday, claiming that he wasn’t using the motor to win.

“I knew that if someone saw me, noticed it, I risked being suspended, but well, I am at the end of my career, I’m 43, I didn’t want to race any more, I wanted to enjoy my life with my wife and young daughter.”

He acknowledged that riders he raced against would view him as a cheat.

“But,” he insisted, “I wasn’t selling drugs, I didn’t kill a child … I put a motor in my bike to feel more comfortable while racing.”

He added: “They’ll make an example of me, but I think this will be a good thing for cycling because I’m not the only one doing it.”

It’s just the third time a concealed motor has been discovered in competition, and the first time one has been found being used in France.

In August, a hidden motor was found at an amateur race in Italy, while the highest profile case to date relates to the one discovered in a bike belonging to 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.

25 comments

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Welsh boy [443 posts] 3 months ago
21 likes

I feel really sorry for this chap, I think having motor assist whilst recovering from a painful back problem seems a very sensible idea.  The alternative would be not to race until he was fully recovered from his injury.  I cant understand why his fellow competitors feel so bad about having this lying cheating bastard in the same race as them.

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cro2 [7 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

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don simon [1709 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
cro2 wrote:

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

As simple as that, no grey areas, just black and white.

No ambiguities or room for misunderstandings, straight down the line.

This fella, though, is a complete tosser and has no excuse.

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mylesrants [392 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Did ye see the footage of the guy racing. Anyone gonna give the junior rider who held his wheel a pro contract?

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Zebulebu [82 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes
mylesrants wrote:

Did ye see the footage of the guy racing. Anyone gonna give the junior rider who held his wheel a pro contract?

... Or check HIS bike for a motor...

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ErnieC [7 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
cro2 wrote:

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

So if i suffered from asthma for instance and it prevented me from racing to my full potential, should I also not race?

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Simontuck [186 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes
ErnieC wrote:
cro2 wrote:

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

So if i suffered from asthma for instance and it prevented me from racing to my full potential, should I also not race?

Well, you could race, but you might not like getting dropped constantly and you're unlikely to get picked up by many sponsors. It's one of the many reasons I don't race. Others are that I can't be bothered to train hard for over 10 hours a week and follow a sensible diet that doesn't involve lots of chocolate and cake, and alcohol.

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Duncann [1177 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
Simontuck wrote:
ErnieC wrote:
cro2 wrote:

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

So if i suffered from asthma for instance and it prevented me from racing to my full potential, should I also not race?

Well, you could race, but you might not like getting dropped constantly and you're unlikely to get picked up by many sponsors. It's one of the many reasons I don't race. Others are that I can't be bothered to train hard for over 10 hours a week and follow a sensible diet that doesn't involve lots of chocolate and cake, and alcohol.

There should be a category for people like us. I reckon I'd be pretty competitive.

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StoopidUserName [383 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
ErnieC wrote:
cro2 wrote:

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

So if i suffered from asthma for instance and it prevented me from racing to my full potential, should I also not race?

That's what TUE's are for though some people will see you as being worse than Jimmy savile if you use them

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I love my bike [214 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Duncann wrote:
Simontuck wrote:
ErnieC wrote:
cro2 wrote:

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

So if i suffered from asthma for instance and it prevented me from racing to my full potential, should I also not race?

Well, you could race, but you might not like getting dropped constantly and you're unlikely to get picked up by many sponsors. It's one of the many reasons I don't race. Others are that I can't be bothered to train hard for over 10 hours a week and follow a sensible diet that doesn't involve lots of chocolate and cake, and alcohol.

There should be a category for people like us. I reckon I'd be pretty competitive.

Maybe time to get a Ducati?

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alansmurphy [1472 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes

Savile used TUE's? I now find him a monster!

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Ush [1035 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes
ErnieC wrote:
cro2 wrote:

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

So if i suffered from asthma for instance and it prevented me from racing to my full potential, should I also not race?

Sounds like you're in a similar situation to me.  I have no legs and yet there are those who would deny that I should be able to use my electric motorbike to compete in races.  What is the world coming to?  Political correctness gone made I call it.

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Velovoyeur [55 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Where's the personal moral compass in this argument? This chap has already justified cheating to himself and seems to think that everone else will agree with him and say that he acted sensibly. He was aware of his handicap and thought he was leveling the playing field relative to other competitors. Then, to say that everyone else is doing it has echos of another 7 time tour winning cycling cheat. Perhaps that's what is the problem with society today - allegedly we are all equal and capable of winning races but some need more asistance than others in order to be able to achieve and see no issue with that. "He/she is better than me but if I have a 250w motor fitted I can compete and beat them occasionally"

 

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McHackety [4 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Bet this guy was booing Chris Froome and calling him a cheat during the Tour too...

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beezus fufoon [973 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
Velovoyeur wrote:

Where's the personal moral compass in this argument? This chap has already justified cheating to himself and seems to think that everone else will agree with him and say that he acted sensibly. He was aware of his handicap and thought he was leveling the playing field relative to other competitors. Then, to say that everyone else is doing it has echos of another 7 time tour winning cycling cheat. Perhaps that's what is the problem with society today - allegedly we are all equal and capable of winning races but some need more asistance than others in order to be able to achieve and see no issue with that. "He/she is better than me but if I have a 250w motor fitted I can compete and beat them occasionally"

 

fair enough, if he was a good Kantian then the appeal to everyone potentialy cheating sounds like a justification, but pragmatically he is right - everyone is a potential cheat - so he then turns to a utilitarian argument.

maybe he felt the need to justify spending 3 grand by winning something back

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Jimmy Ray Will [827 posts] 3 months ago
9 likes

I think if I ever cheated, like properly cheated, then before doing so I'd do a bit of research and build up an armoury of previous defences used by cheating cyclists in the past... then I'd do every and any interview requested and I'd trot these out with gay abandon. 

It would be hilarious (in my mind)

Journo: 'So, why was there a motor in your bike"

Me: "it was caused by a steak I had my DS import from spain"

Etc etc.

If you are going to be a dick, you have to go all in I say... at least have a laugh about it? 

 

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FatBoyW [247 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I would look to reject such scum as this from club rides let alone races. Who thinks cycling is not about beating the fellow on your shoulder whatever the circumstance? 

Certainly my experience of club riding is that the more one might think it is a 'social' ride the more you will be attacked at every opportunity! To have some fool 'level the playing field' with his electric motor and prevent the arse kicking would be outrageous?!- bah! 

Hope he's banged up for ten years, not least for knowingly buying fraudulent frames - who do you think pays the wages of your fellow workers for that firm you defrauded? - Fools like this do not deserve to be part of any society - and yes those who know me who ride chinese copy crap - I AM talking about you...

I guess I really need to be less equivocal with my views, where is that boiling oil?

 

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janusz0 [73 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
I love my bike wrote:

Maybe time to get a Ducati?

So that fit, slim woman or man can still beat you?

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Another David [29 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

"I'm not the only one"... Quelle surprise.

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crazy-legs [951 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
FatBoyW wrote:

I would look to reject such scum as this from club rides let alone races. Who thinks cycling is not about beating the fellow on your shoulder whatever the circumstance? 

Depends if anyone else in the club knows about it or not.

I can see it's use in allowing club-mates of varying abilities to ride together, especially if one of them is an older rider. A friend of mine has an e-MTB which allows her to ride with her son and husband - the e-MTB is blindingly obviously an e-bike and there's no attempt to hide anything but it's the only way they can ride as a family without her either getting dropped on the hills or holding them back.

So for those sorts of purposes, I'd have no problems with it at all.

But racing a bike with a motor, hidden or not, is an absolute no. At amateur level you'd have to be uitterly stupid to even think that it's worthwhile, the prize money at most regional level races barely covers petrol money!

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FatBoyW [247 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

OK , if we are to take any of my silly polemic seriously then it would be that I would not welcome a cheat as a club mate and that I do hope he gets punished for both the motor and the dodgy frame.

using any assistance openly to equalise a club ride training or otherwise is obviously a good thing to me. I would hope that I will be allowed to ride with 'e' onboard in the future to extend the fun of riding with mates, of course!

in the same way if a rider is falling behind and needs a little helping hand up a hill or two, for sure this keeps the group together and the overall ride more enjoyable, not cheating.

 

your point about what on earth motivates amateur level cheating is well made, can't see the point in the end it's only yourself you are cheating....

 

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KalBoy [15 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
I love my bike wrote:
Duncann wrote:
Simontuck wrote:
ErnieC wrote:
cro2 wrote:

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

So if i suffered from asthma for instance and it prevented me from racing to my full potential, should I also not race?

Well, you could race, but you might not like getting dropped constantly and you're unlikely to get picked up by many sponsors. It's one of the many reasons I don't race. Others are that I can't be bothered to train hard for over 10 hours a week and follow a sensible diet that doesn't involve lots of chocolate and cake, and alcohol.

There should be a category for people like us. I reckon I'd be pretty competitive.

Maybe time to get a Ducati?

Do you mean one of these. http://www.ducatibicycles.co.uk/e-bike/

Avatar
I love my bike [214 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
KalBoy wrote:
I love my bike wrote:
Duncann wrote:
Simontuck wrote:
ErnieC wrote:
cro2 wrote:

If you are physically unable to race, then don't race, simple as that.

So if i suffered from asthma for instance and it prevented me from racing to my full potential, should I also not race?

Well, you could race, but you might not like getting dropped constantly and you're unlikely to get picked up by many sponsors. It's one of the many reasons I don't race. Others are that I can't be bothered to train hard for over 10 hours a week and follow a sensible diet that doesn't involve lots of chocolate and cake, and alcohol.

There should be a category for people like us. I reckon I'd be pretty competitive.

Maybe time to get a Ducati?

Do you mean one of these. http://www.ducatibicycles.co.uk/e-bike/

Nobody will laugh if you're wearing leathers & full-face helmet on that, when you turn in to the cafe car park, will they?  1

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natch1000 [6 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

It's just more poor publicity for cycling. Lately a cyclist was imprisoned for hitting ( and killing) a pedestrian who stepped into his path on a phone. I recently read an article headlined "cyclist assaults pedestrians and knocks them to the ground" the attached video showed a youth in a hoodie on an old mountain bike. We are the current object of abuse from the press (everyone gets a turn) and this idiot hasn't helped. ( that's putting aside the fact that he's a cheating shit!)

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Marcus_Ironman_... [11 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

There are 5 reasons why people or athletes cheat - these are:

1.  A desire to win at all costs - even if that means lying.

2.   For financial reasons - with professionals trying to extend a career.

3.   National pressures - as exemplified by the old East German system.

4.   Individual pressures from coach’s - who get paid better if they coach winners, and that can apply for administrations too.

5.   Finally, they cheat because they believe they will not get caught - they believe they are invincible."

More info on cheating in this article - enjoy  1
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/prize-money-triathlon-good-bad-marcus-ric...