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Mechanical doping – Hidden motor inventor reveals how he thinks cheats can be caught

Says thermal imaging devices are not 100 per cent reliable

The Hungarian inventor who pioneered hidden motors says there is no ‘perfect method’ for testing for such devices, reports AFP. He suggests that riders’ climbing efforts should be measured against their ‘maximum’ performance and that if this is exceeded by five per cent, it would indicate cheating.

Thermal imaging devices are being employed at this year’s Tour de France in a bid to detect hidden motors. Bikes are being checked at stage starts and finishes using magnetic wave scanning technology, while a thermal imaging camera mounted on a motorbike is also being used while the race is in progress.

Istvan Varjas, who claims to have developed the hidden motor system 15 years ago, says they often need to be active to be detected in this way.

"The thermal cameras don’t always work, especially if the motor is switched off at the time of testing. And the cyclists are not cheating alone as sometimes the motors are in the wheels and activated from a distance."

Varjas proposes drawing conclusions from riders’ performances on key climbs. "Simply test riders on a mountain and check their maximum performance, if a rider then surpasses this by five percent it would clearly indicate (cheating)," he said.

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