Former professional cyclist Phil Gaimon has accused Fabian Cancellara of cheating by using a hidden motor in his bike.
Gaimon, who retired at the end of the 2016 season after a decade in the peloton, made the claim in his recently published autobiography, Draft Animals.
The American singled out Cancellara’s race-winning performance in the 2008 edition of Milan-San Remo as being particularly suspicious.
In his book, Gaimon wrote: “I dismissed it until I heard his former teammates talk about certain events where Cancellara had his own mechanic, his bike was kept separate from everyone else's, and he rode away from a ‘who's who’ of dopers.
“When you watch the footage, his accelerations don't look natural at all, like he's having trouble staying on the top of the pedals.
“That fucker probably did have a motor,” he added.
Cancellara, a three-time winner of both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix and world time trial champion on four occasions, has always denied allegations of using a concealed motor.
Suspicions he may have been using illegal mechanical assistance were at their height in 2010, when the Swiss rider rode away from Tom Boonen on the Muur van Geraardsbergen to take a stunning victory at the Tour of Flanders and followed it up a week later by winning Paris-Roubaix.
Shortly afterwards, Italian ex-pro turned TV pundit Davide Cassani – now coach of Italy’s national team – demonstrated on television how he believed a pro cyclist could use a hidden motor to gain an unfair advantage.
World cycling’s governing body the UCI has stepped up the number of tests carried out on bikes since a concealed motor was found in the frame of a bike belonging to Belgian under-23 rider Femke van Den Driessche at the cyclo-cross world championships last year.
Since then., however, no hidden motor has been found at a professional race.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.