Italian masters cyclist denies using a hidden motor
A 53-year-old masters cyclist was discovered using an electric motor with thermal cameras at an amateur event in Bedizzole, near Brescia in Italy
Alessandro Andreol finished third in the race and was asked to bring his bike the commissaires for further inspection after the race. Dissembling Andreol’s Argon 18 was unnecessary as he admitted his guilt and left the race. The first five finishers all had their bikes checked.
“We had some precise reports and we proceeded accordingly,” said Emiliano Scalfi, vice president and technical director.
“Looking, we saw that there was heat in the tube of a rider’s bike tube. We invited the riders to go with our two judges at our authorized center to control the bike, but at that point he admitted his fault.”
“We invited the rider to go with two commissaires to an authorised centre to check the bike, but at that point, he admitted his guilt,” Scalfi explained. “Inside the bike, he had a motor.”
Scalfi, of the Centro Sportivo Italiano, claimed he then owned up, but Andreoli declined to join organizers in taking apart the bike to check the tube and denied any such admission.
Andreoli denies using a motorized bicycle after being disqualified
“I had to go to a wedding, it was getting late,” he said as explanation for refusing to have the bike taken apart. “But I didn’t admit to anything. They looked for a switch but couldn’t find one,” Andreoli told Gazzetta, although the newspaper published a photo of the bike in question purporting to show the switch.
Asked why he had been disqualified given his version of events, Andreoli replied: “I don’t know, maybe because they said I had a motor."
“In that case those who finished alongside me had motors. I’ve seen a lot of people finish ahead of me without them suffering.”
Andreoli suggested he was the victim of a stitch-up motivated by jealousy over his “high standard of living.”
“Obviously someone doesn’t like me,” he said. “I’ve been a tiler for many years, and I earn a lot.”
Asked where he had bought the bike, Andreoli said it was from an acquaintance, whose name and phone number he’d forgotten.
“We met in the street, I liked the bike, he gave me a great price, and I took it,” he said.
Asked about claims that he’d recently started riding much faster than before, the 53-year-old gave a simple explanation.
“Before I had back pain, but I’m better now and training hard.”
Rumors have been rife for years that motorized bicycles were being used to gain an unfair advantage at major cycling races but until 2016 none had ever been found in competition.
The incident represents only the second time a hidden motor has been found concealed in the bike of a racing cyclist. In February of last year a motor was found in the bike of 19-year-old Belgian and European U23 cyclocross champion Femke Van den Driessche.
She was banned for six years and fined 20,000 Swiss Francs. Like the new case in Italy, her hidden motor was also found in the seat tube.