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Mechanical doping: Criminal conviction for French amateur cyclist found using hidden motor

Cyril Fontayne receives community order after pleading guilty to fraud charges

An amateur cyclist in France who was found using a hidden motor at a race has been sentenced for fraud and attempted fraud by a criminal court.

Yesterday, Cyril Fontayne, aged 43 and a plasterer by trade was sentenced to 60 hours’ community service at the Périgueux criminal court after admitting the charges, reports Ouest France.

He had already been banned from holding a racing licence for five years by the French cycling federation (FFC), which under yesterday’s ruling received symbolic damages of 1 euro.

The rider was targeted by France’s national anti-doping agency, the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD) after a dramatic improvement in his results.

He was caught in October in the Dordogne as he drove home from the Category 3 Grand Prix de Saint-Michel-de-Double race, organised by his club, SA Mussidan.

Fontayne had been leading the race when he abandoned due to a puncture and was chased down by the AFLD’s regional representative, the former pro cyclist Christophe Bassons, who found the hidden motor.

Bassons revealed at the time that the motor was a Vivax Assist, which the cyclist had bought online and installed on his bike.

After yesterday’s hearing, Bassons said: “Today, it has been shown that cheating during a race can lead to a conviction for fraud."

Fontayne was also told to pay 88 euro to the Créon-d’Armagnac cycling club, organisers of another race in which he used the banned technology.

It’s the third case involving the discovery of a concealed motor in competition, and the first in France.

In August last year, an amateur cyclist in Italy was found using a hidden motor.

The most significant case so far involved one found in a bike belonging to under-23 Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche at the UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships in 2016.

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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