Lawyers acting for Fabian Cancellara have demanded that the publishers of US former professional cyclist Phil Gaimon’s book Draft Animals immediately stop distributing and selling it.
According to a report in Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Cancellara’s manager Armin Meier has also called on Gaimon to issue a public apology over allegations contained in the book that he won races using a concealed motor.
Cancellara has always strenuously denied allegations he used illegal mechanical assistance, including during his 2010 Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix victories.
Last week, after passages from Gaimon’s book were widely reported upon in the media, the UCI said that it was considering opening an investigation into the issue.
A spokesman for world cycling’s governing body, which has recently appointed ex-pro Jean Christophe Péraud to head up the fight against technoclogical fraud, said: “We are not ruling out the possibility of investigating, especially if new information is made available.”
In his book, Gaimon wrote: “I dismissed it [talk of a hidden motor] 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,” added Gaimon who, like Cancellara, retired in 2016.
Meanwhile, one of Cancellara’s former mechanics at Saxo Bank who helped look after his bikes at those 2010 editions of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, insisted in no uncertain terms that nothing untoward had gone on.
Rune Kristensen, who now works with Quick Step Floors, told the Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet: “In 2010 I was a mechanic at the two races with Cancellara’s permanent mechanic Roger Theel, and together we assembled the team’s bikes for the Spring Classics.
“If there had been an engine hidden in a bike, I would have discovered it. It would not have been possible to miss it. Fabian's bikes were handled like all the other bikes, so it's impossible that anything could have be hidden in it.”
Kristensen continued working for the team after its acquisition by Oleg Tinkov from Riis until it was dissolved at the end of 2016, including at its service course in Luxembourg.
“All bikes were kept and maintained there, or in public before races,” he continued.
“Cancellara never took his race bikes home, but handed them over to the team's mechanics.
"The only one I've ever known who took is race bikes home is Alberto Contador. Fabian's bikes were always locked in the trucks along with the other bikes after a race,” added Kristensen.
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.