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Mechanical doping: French cyclist who used hidden motor in Cat-3 race receives five-year ban

Cyril Fontaine had been targeted for testing after dramatic improvement in results

A French cyclist who was caught using a hidden motor in a Category-3 race last October has received a five-year ban from racing.

Cyril Fontaine, aged 43, will also be barred from holding a licence for the same period after the national disciplinary commission of the French Cycling Federation (FFC) found him guilty of technological fraud, reports Le Figaro.

The rider’s bike had been specifically targeted by France’s national anti-doping agency, the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD), for testing for a hidden motor after a dramatic improvement in his results.

The hidden motor was discovered on 1 October at a race in the Dordogne, the Grand Prix de Saint-Michel-de-Double.

> Amateur rider reportedly caught using hidden motor in French Race

The control was carried out by gendarmes accompanied by AFLD regional representative Christophe Bassons, who gave up his career as a professional cyclist after being frozen out of the sport when he suggested that Lance Armstrong was doping.

According to a report in December in French satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé, which also has a strong record in investigative journalism, magistrates from a specialist anti-fraud unit based in Paris are currently investigating allegations that hidden motors are being used by riders at the highest levels of the sport.

> Top magistrates in France reportedly investigating motor doping

In August last year, a hidden motor was found in a bike belonging to Italian amateur rider Alessandro Andreoli, aged 53, after he finished third in a race near Bergamo, Lombardy.

> Italian amateur accused of motor doping has a string of excuses

In April 2016, Belgian rider Femke van den Driessche, then aged 19, was banned for six years after a concealed motor was discovered in a bike prepared for her for the under-23 women’s race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships earlier in the year.

> Mechanical doping: Six-year ban for Femke Van den Driessche

Simon has been news editor at 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.

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