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.
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.
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.
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.
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.