Images from the Stade 2 TV programme in April exposing alleged hidden motors/mechanical doping.
  • DC Rainmaker Ray has a good video of UCI oficials checking for motors at Paris-Roubaix

  • DC Rainmaker Ray has a good video of UCI oficials checking for motors at Paris-Roubaix

  • MattHurst

    Nibali taking the moral high ground, priceless. Isn’t getting a tow from a car mechanical advantage?

    • Nitro

      I was just about to say the same….
      “My form of cheating was ok, but this form of cheating – completely unacceptable”…
      Motor in bike = unacceptable. Motor under the bonnet of a car I happen to be hanging on – that’s ok…

    • martin

      It would seem to only be an issue if you get spotted. I still get a laugh seeing that footage of Nibali, for some reason the Benny Hill theme song always pops into my head..

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    • roddders

      What’s getting a tow from a team far got to do with riders having fucking motors in their bikes? Moron.

      • martin

        Easy now. You don’t think Nibali having a whinge about motors is a bit rich?

        • roddders

          Not really no. Are you saying that motors are ok if nibali complains about them but not ok if someone else who has never taken a tow from a team car complains? He’s a triple tour winner and one of the most experienced riders in the bunch, his comments should mean something. His sport is becoming a joke and it’s good to see he’s not happy about it.

          • martin

            Nibali’s opinion absolutely means something. As does the opinion of yourself and Matt and all users of the site.
            It’s my opinion that you calling Matt a moron is out of line. It’s also my opinion that Nibali should be more consistent when making vocal complaints given the issues in the sport (doping, moto accidents, poor course management, etc). I agree with you that there are significant issues in the sport but the experienced riders in the bunch should be calling out all the bad stuff (and good stuff) and not cherry picking particular issues.

            • roddders

              He’s a bike rider, not a spokesman or union rep. He answers specific questions usually when asked them. Don’t confuse things by going on about rave vehicles, courses etc. What have they for to do with the widespread cheating etc that goes on?if anything it undermines any safety calls as it demonstrates the contempt that the riders have for their own health.

  • Berne Shaw

    Yes and as a champion to cheat deliberately in an area calculated to get away with it with team manager and director saying everyone cheats is beyond horrid

  • Berne Shaw

    I’m sure it sounds severe but from today forward what if ALL forms of doping fraud cheating were lifetime bans and no more becoming a manager and penalties for the team lisence as well. A bank employee robbing you of your life savings is not allowed a second chance right ?

  • Milessio

    Unfortunately thermal imaging only ‘sees’ the surface temperature, so fitting the motor with a thin highly insulation value jacket e.g. aerogel, could defeat that method of detection. The UCI needs to investigate how any of their detection system(s) can be defeated, as that’s what cheaters will be doing, so they don’t get caught.

    • hornk

      Heat’s gotta go somewhere. Insulating it would only cause the temperature inside the motor to go up either until it got hot enough to be able to push the heat through the insulation or until it burns up.

      There are two ways to keep the surface temperature low. First is to get a more efficient motor so that the heat generated is lower. Probably hard to do as I’m assuming they’re using some of the most efficient motors around already, because if you’re going to lug a battery around you might as well get everything you can out of it.

      Second way is to spread the heat out over a larger area. This would have to involve some heat conducting material like copper or aluminum being used as a heat sink to spread the heat out along the seat tube. It would probably work, but would also add weight.

      • ebbe

        Or use some cooling agent (liquid nitrogen or some compressed gas?) which is released slowly as the motor heats up. However, that would also make the whole thing much more complex, more prone to faillure, larger and heavier.

  • Ma alcuni sistemi non sono così facili da scoprire.

  • Willbert

    Did I miss something here? I thought the little motor that went down the seat tube needs to have a bolt that goes through the frame in order to hold it in place. Wouldn’t that be super obvious? Do the motors now include some form of wedge that holds it in place? What about the seat tube itself? Aero tubes obviously aren’t designed to hold a circular motor. All of these seat tubes have different designs from different manufacturers. Even the Meridas in M. Appelman’s video show a seat tube that gets larger towards the bottom (as most tend to do). Wouldn’t the wedge be ineffective in a tube that gets larger towards the bottom? If these guys are placing motors in their bicycles, they would need help from the team mechanics and possibly the manufacturer themselves. Seems like a huge risk to take. If i found out that ‘X Bicycle Company’ was helping a team cheat, you would be certain that I would never buy that bike again. Same goes for a lot of folks. The teams themselves would lose all sponsors. This whole thing seems so brazen and audacious that, if caught, a lifetime ban would seem the most appropriate. Of if a team is caught, immediate suspension for two years. Goodbye sponsors!

  • geoff.tewierik

    Was wondering how much temp variation is seen in a seat tube with a Di2 battery in it?

    • Jaybo

      good question, cant imagine it’d be much though, the batteries aren’t that big and it’s a very low current draw off it.
      my di2 battery is much higher in the tube too, it’s clipped to the bottom of the seatpost rather than floating around in the tube down near the BB

      • geoff.tewierik

        Would a Powertap rear hub show heat?

        • Jaybo

          one would hope not – heat means energy, power meters should be measuring the energy, not absorbing it :)

    • ebbe

      Batteries don’t really generate significant heat, under normal circumstances. They can become warm, when they’re charging (not the case in a race, obviously) or when they are (partially) defective. Every piece of electronics you own that does become hot, does so because of chips etc, not the batteries. If you have a pair of batteries that becomes hot on its own, throw them out, since they’re defective.

      So yes, when they short internally, batteries can become very hot or even explode in extreme cases. It is very well possible that they’ve caught a number of defective or partially defective EPS/Di2 batteries. However, I think I’d have to go with Jaybo here: EPS/Di2 batteries are typically up higher in the seat tube.

      This is, assuming the other footage is approximately the same as that one image everybody is talking about. This certainly is a motor, since it’s of their test set up, not a race situation.

      Having said that, the footage shown in the item is not very conclusive. They claim to have caught 5 seat tube motors and 2 hub motors. They’ve not shown any in-race footage of the seat tube motors (only of their test set up) and the hub motors can also be friction from a poorly serviced hub (having a bad mechanic is not a crime).

      Of course we should not be naive. If I understand correctly, there is more footage which they have not released (yet)… Likely because they know this is not conclusive enough to make hard allegations and “name names”. It should be however, be more than enough evidence for the UCI to reconsider if their current testing methods are sufficient. But what has the UCI done with this investigation – which is, even for all it’s imperfections, the best investigation I’ve seen on this topic so far? They’ve put their fingers in their ears and are now shouting lalalalalalalalalalalalala

  • Al

    If the bottom bracket had an inspection port for a borescope which would only need to be 7-10mm. you could directly inspect the crankshaft for gearing. Simple solution.

  • donncha

    Is there actually anything newsworthy in this at all? I saw INRNG comment that the video footage they showed was of some 60yr-old guy riding his bike as a demonstration and there was zero footage supporting any claim that a motor had been used in a race.

    • martin

      That’s what I’ve been wondering. If they know something concrete (which they claim too) then why hold back naming names.

      • Dave

        You would hope that it is to give the UCI and the teams concerned an appropriate opportunity to respond before releasing the full report. That’s how it works with proper investigative journalism.

        I expect it’s really because they have nothing more than a few thermal images of bikes which may (or may not) have been captured during a bike race and which may (or may not) provide evidence of mechanical doping.

        • ebbe

          Spot on Dave! Even assuming that they have better footage which has not been released yet, there’s another problem these journalists have: They have no jurisdiction to impound and/or inspect bikes right after the race. So any suspicion they can raise, however solid, can never be verified by them with 100% certainty. Only the UCI (and possibly race organisers?) could do that. This is why I’m so disappointed by the UCI’s non-reaction. Unless UCI is only saying this to throw cheaters off, but in the mean time is secretly installing heat camera’s… One can hope ;-)

  • roddders

    The uci are seeming more and more to be unfit for purpose. Doping is rampant and now this. Pro cycling is a joke.

  • Roberj4

    Interesting to see the UCI checking the carbon rims to see if anything hidden there too.

  • ebbe

    FYI, for those who understand Dutch: Yesterday’s item on Belgian television with some more explanation. This journalist (stripy shirt, far left of the table for us viewrs) actually had the same idea, had done some testing with heat camera’s, but didn’t get round to actually using them in a race yet. He too makes some reservations and explains this is not enough evidence to “name names”, but says it’s serious enough to warrant further actions.

    Let me know if you have specific questions, I can translate… but writing a whole transcript is too much work ;-)

  • John_Irvine

    I would assume thermal imaging cameras are relatively cheap these days. No reason it has to be the UCI setting them up at races, (though that would be nice). Time for journalists, bloggers, and amateur sleuths to go out and get some footage.

  • mitch_brooklyn

    Why is the attention always focused just on the rider? Hard to imagine they’re doing this without the complicity of team mechanics, management, etc. I actually have the most sympathies for the riders. I’m not saying they’re not cheating. But most of them are just doing anything they can to keep their contracts and eke out a living. Instead of a lifetime ban on the rider, why not lifetime bans and license forfeitures for team owners? They’re in a much better position to crackdown then a bunch of UCI officials doing spot checks. And this would give them a huge economic incentive to do so. Now, they just act shocked and blame the riders.

  • ummm…

    stopped reading once Nibali said there is a diff between “mechanical” and pharma doping. Somebody please explain this position to me rationally before I just start insulting that opinion again, as my reaction to this argument is beginning to disappoint me.

  • Peter Odegaard

    Really don’t get people who think mechanical doping is worse than biological doping. Why don’t we all just call all of it cheating?

  • J Evans

    Can we please stop calling it ‘mechanical doping’? It’s a stupid term.
    Thermal cameras.
    Ban bike changes.
    Demand that all riders provide their data to the UCI – they could use UCI powermeters (or whatever is needed) – if they all have to do it,
    it’s fair. Then, you’d see when their effort didn’t match their speed. (This would also stop people hanging on to cars.)
    Tag every bike and examine every bike after every race.
    Why are the UCI not doing any of these things?
    Some of these would be quick and simple.

    • tinger

      The reason why they are not doing what you are suggesting is because you are not in charge. I’m sure when you are the UCI president you will bring end to all doping, cure cancer and bring world peace!

  • mkurita

    If this mechanical doping keeps up, next step is…. UCI issued bikes!


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