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"Hide it!" Vuelta video sparks fresh mechanical doping concerns (+ video)

Movistar say incident at Vuelta reflects respect for bike supplier Canyon rather than anythinhg underhand

Video showing a Movistar employee being handed a damaged bike from the roof of a team car and being told to “hide it” have sparked fresh concerns over mechanical doping in the peloton – but the Spanish team says there is an innocent explanation.

The footage was shot by a spectator during Stage 9 of the Vuelta and has led Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport to wonder what exactly was in the frame that needed to be hidden.

The UCI has stepped up controls of bikes for hidden motors this season – at the Vuelta, Fabio Aru and Joaquim Rodriguez’s bikes were among those checked at the weekend – after the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s report highlighted concerns over ‘mechanical doping.’

– Mechanical doping - the pro cycling story that won't go away

But Movistar sports director Luis Arrieta insisted the reason for getting the bike out of public view was simply due to respect for the manufacturer, Canyon, due to the damage it had suffered.

The sense of urgency was due to wanting to give team mechanics more time to swap over components from the broken frame.

A statement from Canyon, reported on the website CyclingTips said: “Removing damaged equipment away from the view of spectators is nothing new in cycling or any other professional sport.

“We have complete trust in the teams we supply when it comes to how they handle our bikes. We know how much professionalism they bring to their work having built up a close relationship with their staff over the years.“

The company added: “As no Canyon representatives are currently attending the Vuelta a España, please direct any further queries to Movistar Team, who have already made a statement on this matter.“

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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