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.
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.