A crash and tangled bike saw Michael Matthews held up for nearly a minute at a crucial time of the race.
  • Sashinho

    I`m sorry Arnaud, but the Strava-File means nothing unless the Power-Data is revealed!

    • Chris

      If only there was a way of recording power, cadence and heart rate on the SRM PC8 he uses. It’ll be interesting if he releases the missing data.

    • donncha

      Power,HR,Cadence etc. is easily editable, so it’s trivial to fill in any blanks so that all looks normal. Releasing his power data won’t prove anything.

      • Chris

        Then share it anyway. The longer he goes before sharing it, the higher the suspicion it’s been doctored, surely.

        • donncha

          Well he doesn’t seem to upload power or HR to Strava anyway, so not sure why he’d bother now.

          • Chris

            Because of the easily-dispelled-if-you’ve-got-power-cadence-and-HRM-data accusations of cheating from two fellow pros, silly…

            • donncha

              As I and others have pointed out, it’s trivial to adjust your power figures (like 2 minutes work trivial) so adding power isn’t going to answer any questions for anyone familiar with power files.

              Ergo, nothing to be gained by releasing power.

        • Durian Rider


        • Sean

          The french are often old school and don’t train by power or drugs, it’s likely he doesn’t even know what a power meter is.

          • Chris

            Hah! Can’t tell if you’re serious or not. Poe’s law is a toughie.

            for the record, his data on Strava was recorded on a SRM PC8.

      • Durian Rider

        If the power data is there it will show what wattages were put out on the climb.

        Only takes 30seconds on strava to analyze the data.

        Yes fake files can be created as JP recently proved but I doubt a pro would do that as there are too many others uploading wattage data that day and it would stand out.

        • donncha

          He doesn’t need to create a fake file. Anyone who uses a power meter knows that sometimes you get data spikes, and sometime the readings drop out. It’s simple to look at the raw data and replace the missing/erroneous values with more accurate ones.

          So, let’s pretend he hung onto the car for 10s and there are 10 entries of ‘0’ in his power file for that period. Edit the file, replace only those entries with something believable, save the file, upload to Strava and no-one is any the wiser.

  • Alex

    As it’s unrealistic to have motos filming everyone in the race the organizers should find a way to gather power data from the all the riders as it could be used in evidence like this. With the new devices that are popping up under the saddles they could use them to record it. They could also lock down the device so only the UCI has access to the data after it’s been written to it. This would prevent tampering with the data after the fact by the teams themselves.

    • Dave

      Sealed video cameras on all race convoy cars/motos (not just team cars) would be a simpler alternative.

      It could also help with other issues that the UCI should consider dealing with at some point – like rider safety.

      • Alex

        There’s no video camera that lasts 7 hours. A power meter would easily show this data. You can’t output 400 watts while holding onto a car. Even if you would see the speed be way above the norms for that point of the course.

        • Arfy

          ?? You simply save the video to a large enough memory and you can record for as long as you want. You hook it up to the car’s power supply and you can run it for as long as the car’s running.
          I think Dave’s idea has merit as long as the camera is also showing what’s happening inside the car, and if someone in the car tries to cover the camera then the car is eliminated from support for the rest of the race. The issue would be how to use the video, can it be uploaded in real-time and someone reviews it on the fly, or would it only be used in a protest?

          • Alex

            I overlooked the part about cars/motos.

            The device I’m talking about is already being used in the peloton (CT had an article about them) so it would be fairly easy to implement this strategy.

            • Arfy

              I get that power data can be important, but like everything it needs to be interpreted correctly. For instance, if someone’s using a car convoy to come back, then naturally they’re going to be faster than their power data suggests. If this happened on a gentle climb at 3% or 4% then you really need video evidence to prove what happened, power data alone may not be enough. There may be some claim of holding on or being pushed, but the rider may also claim they were coming back through a convoy, or a moto was too close in front, etc. So maybe best solution is UCI cameras to record evidence, and live data to flag an investigation during the race?

              • Daniel

                ^^^this. Griepel managed to do the same climb last year only 17sec slower. Its a flat climb with a huge drafting benefit. Anybody who has drafted a bus/truck on Beach Rd will know how easily you can go from hubbard speed to pro speed.

  • bigdo

    not saying he’s lying, but why would the other two riders just come forward to hate on him for reason and make it up that he held onto the car…. ?

    • SebL

      Okay, this is pushing it a bit. Demare had a crappy season last year so we didn’t see much of him, that’s right. He’s 24 so a pretty young guy who still has quite a few years to be with the elite sprinters. Not to forget he was under 23 world champion in 2011. So a promising guy, who’s gotta start winning somehow.

  • John Seymour

    Is a link to the strava file available? Acceleration, cadence and potentially HR would be of interest up the Cipressa, even in the absence of power data

  • dj_pal

    Nearly 30 seconds faster than Kwiatkowski (who was outputting 433W at 174bpm)
    Sorry but I don’t buy it. Can’t do 30 seconds faster on a 10 minutes climb, AND win the sprint after that

  • bigdo

    after further reading it seems at least one of the riders claiming witness to Demare’s cheating is full of it… :

    “The Frenchman’s Strava file gives more details of the 5.6 kilometre climb of the Cipressa. He scaled it at an average speed of 33.7 kilometres per hour, and with a maximum speed of 52.2 kilometres per hour. This is obviously far off the 80 kilometres per hour claimed by Capecchi.”

    • jms

      Well if the two riders were going up at 30km/h and Demare came past at 56km/h I’d be inclined to overestimate his speed a little to.

      • bigdo

        he overestimated it by 30 kmph… that’s like, a really big difference… one seems normal and the other super human… his testimony is now suspect as shit..

    • Chris

      He misjudged relative speed, so he surely misjudged whether he was hanging onto a car, right?

  • Will

    So much speculation…! Innocent until proven guilty. Power data is not conclusive – can be fairly easily modified to produce false numbers, so I guess we’ll never know. One thing is for sure though and that is that he didn’t cause gaviria to crash so it’s totally unfair to say that he doesn’t deserve this win ‘because he’d never usually be there with the sprinters’.

  • Here is the Strava information – https://www.strava.com/activities/521963982/segments/12550133735

    Impressive, but not much faster than others. I could see how drafting behind slipstream of cars would help, but currently that’s not illegal, and on the broadcast this was visible numerous times from other cyclists. Perhaps a rule change is in order?

    • Dave

      I don’t think a rule change is needed so much as a different interpretation of the current rule. The current interpretation is that riders coming back from a crash or mechanical won’t be penalised if they are only briefly sheltering behind each car and they are continuing to move forward instead of staying behind one car.

      The current interpretation of the ‘sticky bidon’ situation is that commissaires will consider a warning or penalty if a driver holds on for more than a count to three. That’s a great example of drawing a line in the sand and including a quantitative component to prevent it being completely subjective.

    • Arfy

      Initial reaction was “oh no, another farce”. After seeing he was only 17 seconds faster than Greipel on the climb I now kind of agree that it doesn’t seem so unusual, certainly not the “double our speed” claim from the guys who admit they “didn’t actually see him holding on”.

  • Dave

    This needs to be investigated properly for the sake of the sport’s credibility. If the allegation is found to be true, a six month ban for both the rider and DS would be appropriate.

    Cycling’s credibility is already pretty low and will be the work of a few decades to fix, but the first step in fixing it will be to stop digging further down!

  • choppy

    “His sprint went well, of course. But without that tow, the sprint there
    would never have happened. I’ve never seen something done so
    shamelessly.” Errrr, does the name Nibali ring a bell?

  • Chris

    Looking at the flybys on Strava it’s funny viewing the Cipressa climb. He surges past guys he’s holding steady with, then goes back to their speed. Look at about 173 miles and watch him blow past people on the climb.

    • jules

      Flybys isn’t deadly accurate, the data seems to often be a bit surgey – but GPS error self-corrects, so any sudden gains should be reversed if it’s GPS error.

      • Andy B

        According to Flybys Damiano Caruso appears to win by minutes

      • Chris

        True enough. I was happy as all get up for him when he won. Then I was amazed when I heard he was in the same crash as Matthews. Then my heart sank when I heard he was accused of hanging on to a car. Then we see he is the KOM on the Cipressa… Amazing effort.

  • Samuel Clemens

    The real issue here is that ‘sticky bottle’ cheating is tolerated constantly – we watch these guys shamelessly cheat right in front of us and think ‘oh that’s just part of the game’. No wonder it comes to this – Demare doesn’t say ‘I never held on’, he says ‘I did nothing wrong’. He is sort of correct; because it is tolerated all the time, he does it and wins the sprint.
    Cycling. Really a ridiculously unethical sport (and that goes to the top with the UCI and race officials seemingly interpreting the rules according to the person to whom they apply at any given time).

    • Robert Merkel
      • Samuel Clemens

        Uh, sorry, we’re talking cycling here, not other sports, do try to keep up. If people cheat in other sports, that is the problem of other sports. It has sweet f-all to do with cheating in cycling (and I am quite surprised that this even needs to be pointed out).

        • Robert Merkel

          You said:

          “Cycling. Really a ridiculously unethical sport”

          My point being that in virtually all sports, particularly professional sports, players players push the limits of what they can get away with. I don’t see that cycling is worse than any other sports out there, it’s just that the ways that cyclists cheat seem to offend people more than they do in other sports.

          • Samuel Clemens

            Yep. But we are cyclists discussing cycling. I don’t think the absence of ethics in this sport is a good thing. If I had any interest in other sports, it is likely I would feel the same way about them.

          • Sean

            Footy has no place on a quality site like this.

          • Sean

            Mate, wow posting this footy junk here, that is seriously a new low. Hopefully the new American and Euro visitors dilute this flat footer talk.

  • Mark Blackwell

    Pretty clear from his cadence that he’s telling the truth: he drafted behind one or more team cars. You don’t maintain a cadence of 90-100 rpms while holding onto a sticky bottle or the window. Yes the file can be edited, but you just wouldn’t post it in the first place if you thought it was going to cause any trouble.

    The question of whether this is legal or ethical is broader than just this race. IMHO the current approach gets it right (ie. if you’re waylaid by a crash or mechanical you can draft the team cars).

  • Strava fly-by of Demare and another sample of riders up the Cipressa. Unfortunatley it doesn’t tell us much: https://youtu.be/cskpC1gBjic

    • A look at the crash section prior to this, compared to times of other riders, suggests he lost maybe 40 seconds. Doesn’t seem too crazy to think he could make up that lost time. https://www.strava.com/activities/521963982/segments/12550132475

      • Neuron1

        He lost at least 40 seconds to the back of the peloton. Then he had to work his way back to the front of it in order to be in position to sprint.

        • Look through the list of that day. He was not dead last. Keep in mind the breakaway group earlier had nearly 11 minutes on the peloton. It’s not unusual, if he was drafting car slipstreams, or had his teammates bring him back to the main group. Quite a few FDJ riders were in that crash. Absolutely, officials should investigate, but I don’t think his comeback was beyond belief. Obviously, some commenting here do think his effort was impossible.

      • Chris

        And then win the sprint. He’s amazing.

        • He was under 23 World Champion.

          Do you think he should be given a one minute time penalty for drafting behind cars?

          • Chris

            He’s amazing. I’m amazed.

    • Andy B

      He makes up a significant gap extremely fast near the bottom

  • Richard McLamore

    article’s inaccurate re: strava file: demare posted it, deleted it, then reposted. #notasuspicioussequenceatall

  • Neuron1

    First off, I don’t either like or dislike any of the riders in the top positions and therefore don’t care who takes the win. I only would like to see the rules applied equally. All of the data, power, HR, cadence, speed, video, interviews with other riders should be gathered and the accusations should be adjudicated. Data of other riders that were on the climb at the same time should be gathered. Riders like Tosatto and Capecchi potentially deal with disappointment every race when their captain doesn’t take a stage or overall win, and they don’t make accusations in those cases. Why should they now? Do you think they are going to ruin their reputation when neither of them had a rider in the top three? They apparantly stated these claims independently, immediately after the race conclusion. That lends credibility to the statements. As far as the actual speed Capecchi stated, that is irrelevant, just the fact the Demare passed them while on the right side of the car, the side he was said to take a bidon from by both the rider and the DS. Again, a confirmatory statement. (Here in the USA, circumstantial evidence is enough to get an investigation going) As far as sticky bottles, they happen on virtually every handoff, however they should not be used to get towed up a hill. Cyclingtips, you guys have credibility in the cycling world, call for an investigation. Justice should be blind but not the officials.

  • Stompin

    If it looks, sounds and smells like… well, a win to Arnaud.

  • Anthony

    9 comments on the actual MSR story, yet 46 worthless, crybaby, speculative posts once there’s some drama thrown in. I’m not sure where all you armchair analyst’s came from, so eager to puke your insignificant drivel into the sport of cycling, but please find somewhere else to spew your negativity.

    • Belinda Hoare

      Apparently if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen, and it’s not legitimate. Everyone’s open to being declared a cheat now until it’s ‘proven’ otherwise on Strava. Gee, I hope the UCI catch up with the third-party, unregulated, socially mediated, commercially interested times…

    • Arfy

      It’s the coffee-shop banter section, of course it’s going to be speculative. Doesn’t mean the crowd’s right, and of course you don’t have to agree with it.

    • Chris

      Bit hard to go talk about the race when the amazing comeback story there is a bit smelly. What do you want? Chapeau Demare! and ignore the fairly rare case of riders accusing another of blatant cheating? They just don’t do that frequently.

    • Sean

      I see you are new to comments on the Internets.

  • Berne Shaw

    New rules! No more drafting cars at any time period! No holding cars period. Bottles one second exchange by new method that is safer and does not allow push. Penalties include loss of race and all platings winnings. Big fine to rider and team. Penalty counts as form of doping i.e. Factored into offenses that count towards loss of team license

    The tolerance and shades of acceptable cheating encourage cheating on a grander scale and make it look acceptable to defraud others.
    Sociology instructs here “Previously prohibited behavior once performed and allowed becomes the accepted norm”

  • My opinion, French teams and riders get what’s coming to them. After all the criticism that the French dish out against any other team or rider that’s not French, well other teams become very bitter about that. So it’s only natural no one wants to see FDJ win a race. Specially an Italian one lololol

  • The Strava post linked in this story: https://www.strava.com/activities/521963982/segments/12550133735 Shows him w/ 2 KoMs on the Cipressa & 10sec off the KoM on the Poggio where he was undisputedly on his own. Looking at “This Years” KoM all dated Mar 19 2016.

  • De Waffle Stoemper

    So far no one has considered that the ride was uploaded (which default is public), made private, and then made public again. Why not? Many Pro riders hide their HR and Power. It’s their data and they can do what they want with it. If he made the activity private for a few minutes while he analyzed it, hid his hr/power, etc. then whatever. There are plenty of Cat. 7 masters racers who don’t want to show their data to competitors.

  • jasjaz

    One thing to catch up to the peloton, as did Mathews, yet another to contest the sprint, let alone win. To be on the limit all that distance and then win against formidable opponents (only showing themselves to wind at the very finish)…I doubt Demare.


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