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VIDEO: French police catch cyclist mechanically doping

An amateur rider was caught using a motor hidden on his bike  at a small French race over the weekend, the first case of mechanical doping in the country

The 43-year-old man, whose impressive climbing abilities in a previous race had raised doubts, admitted to cheating. Reports from French media suggest that the bike was taken away for examination in this clip shown on French TV.

The 43-year-old rider was in the break with Mathys Fédrigo when he noticed former pro Christophe Bassons and other officials watching him. When he punctured during the race, the amateur rider returned to his car and drove off.

Bassons managed to get the suspect to stop, and the two men were joined by two judicial officials from Périgueux. The motor found was a 250-watt Vivax.

The suspect and his bike were taken to Montpon-Ménéstérol to be questioned by the two officials. At the same time, a mechanic stripped down the bike to find the hidden motor. 

The 43-year-old rider, so far only identified as Cyril, has won several third-category races in France’s south-west this year.

He is reported to have used two bikes when competing, one fitted with a motor and the other without. He is set to be charged with sporting fraud by the magistrate in Périgueux.

"Unfortunately, the outcome of this operation confirms what we feared about the possible use of this type of fraud in the amateur world,” French cycling president Michel Callot said in a statement. ”It is a real insult to our sport, and to all the competitors carrying out their activity in all honesty.”

UPDATE: French Cyclist caught Motor Doping say's other riders were using various methods

Jean-Francois Mailhes, prosecutor for the south-western commune, said “the cyclist justified his actions by claiming other riders were using various methods” to cheat and that he “wanted to level the playing field”.

Mailhes said the cyclist admitted to using the bike in five races since August 21, “earning around 500 euros” in prize money.

He said the bicycle motor was bought in France but the frame came from China. Both were procured online for a total cost of around 3,000 euros ($3,500), Mailhes added.

The cyclist had been deliberately targeted after a dramatic recent improvement in his results.

He claimed his recent upsurge in fortunes on a bicycle had been due to overcoming “back pain” and “training hard”.

The French cyclist told a local radio station, France Bleu Perigord, that he’d cheated “not to win races or earn money” but rather to help him get over sciatica and a herniated disc, claiming it helped “reduce pain at the end of races”.

Fontayne, a plasterer by day, admitted to the motor doping after being chased by police following the Grand Prix of Saint-Michel-de-Double, in the Dordogne. The cyclist started to raise suspicions after winning a few local races and garnering prize money in the amount of around €500.

Fontayne said “I did it to have less trouble at the end of the race” before explaining that he had suffered a herniated disc in his back prior, causing him great discomfort on the bike. The use of the motor was purely to “regain sensations” after an injury and “not to win”.

However, that won’t be how his fellow racers would see it, which he acknowledged. “I understand that the riders against whom I have raced want me, it is cheating. But I did not sell drugs, I did not kill any children … I put a motor on a bike to be more comfortable in the race.”

Fontayne concluded his position as the first French rider to be caught, “I will serve as an example,” but warned that “I am not the only one to do it.”

He is the third person to have been caught riding a motorised bicycle in competition, something known as technological or mechanical doping.

In January 2016, Femke Van den Driessche became the first competitive cyclist to be found using a motorised bike at the junior world cyclo-cross championships, an offence which saw the Belgian national junior champion cop a six-year ban from the International Cycling Union.

In July, 53-year-old Italian Alessandro Andreoli was caught out at a race in Italy following a tip-off to organisers. Although organisers claimed he’d admitted to using a motorised bike after a thermal camera had been used to identify a motor Andreoli later pleaded innocent La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

 

Marc Madiot: "All this to win two sausages and three packets of crisps"

Marc Madiot has responded to the use of technological fraud via a motor in a French amateur race by labelling its use 'pathetic'. The FDJ team manager has also stated that he believes the use of motors in the professional peloton is unlikely.

This incident has seen Madiot speak out on the use of motors in both the amateur and professional ranks.

In an interview with Le Parisien, the former Paris-Roubaix winner was quick to criticise the amateur rider jesting at the benefits he gained from the motor use.

'It's pathetic. All this to win two sausages and three packets of crisps," Madiot sarcastically commented adding, "I do not see the interest. He wanted to be the champion of his street."

Speaking to Francebleu.fr Fontayne said “I did it to have less trouble at the end of the race” before explaining that he had suffered a herniated disc in his back prior, causing him great discomfort on the bike. The use of the motor was purely to “regain sensations” after an injury and “not to win”.

However, that won’t be how his fellow racers would see it, which he acknowledged. “I understand that the riders against whom I have raced want me, it is cheating. But I did not sell drugs, I did not kill any children … I put a motor on a bike to be more comfortable in the race.”

Fontayne concluded his position as the first French rider to be caught, “I will serve as an example,” but warned that “I am not the only one to do it.”

 
Tag: motordoping
 
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