Cancellara’s Motorized Doping: Video Proof or Conspiracy Theory?

A couple weeks ago we posted about the electric motorized Gruber Assist retrofit kit that can turn many bikes into e-bikes without frame mods.

Well, there are now rumors flying that it’s actually being used in the peloton!  Davide Cassini, a cycling commentator for Italian TV and former pro roadie, claims in a video interview that mechanized doping is real, and that riders in this year’s Giro d’Italia were doing it.

In this video, Cassini claims he has a pro bike that has the motor concealed within and shows how it works.  From there, the video compiles several clips with the author’s theories to show how Fabian Cancellara used the device in his amazing recent performances at Flanders and Roubaix.

Of course, in Saturday’s L’Equipe (Link here, or Google Translated to English here) Cancellara denies any such activity and  called these hypotheses “idiotic” and “so crazy that I have no words.”

Comments

BJ - 06/01/10 - 4:41pm

yeah, his motor is his legs

Kevin - 06/01/10 - 6:38pm

Next we’ll be seeing close-up underwater video of Michael Phelp’s speedo, showing tiny mechanical swim fins powering him to Olympic gold medals.

theflattire - 06/01/10 - 6:55pm

Bogus,
I didn’t see a flux capacitor.

Harry - 06/01/10 - 7:10pm

Uh yeah, I’m sure the officials that inspect these bikes would never find an electric motor assist device. Friggin ridiculous. Not to mention pretty much the entire team would have to be in on such a scam. Highly doubtful.

Ghost Rider - 06/01/10 - 8:46pm

I feel sorry for Cancellara for having to defend himself against this conspiracy theory. The man is always humble and likeable in interviews — why should he have to get slammed by this ridiculous “theory”? There is no denying Cancellara is an incredibly gifted athlete; has professional cycling become so tainted that we immediately look for cheats when amazing feats of strength and endurance are presented?

ekko - 06/01/10 - 11:36pm

Seems pretty obvious that boonen is financing these videos

Mikey - 06/02/10 - 12:36am

Now we know how Lance does it!!! J/K…. But yeah… Cancellara did display amazing feats of strength and endurance.

It does look suspicious when we goes from struggling to effortless as the terrain gets steeper and more difficult though. He was out of the saddle trying to fend off the other rider, then as the grade gets steeper he sits back on the addle and pedals smoothly and effortlessly up the hill while picking up speed. But it could all be perspective. Maybe they were both hauling, then the other guy got completely gassed and hit the wall, so Cancellara was able to shift down and relax while keeping up his cadence.. Creating the illusion of gaining speed.

It’s not that far fetched that the officials would miss some thing that they have never looked for… I mountain bike so I don’t know how it works for roadies, but when was the last time an official looked down your seat tube? As far as the mechanicals in the shifter.. again I don’t know about roadies, but Pro mountain bikers are always running raw, unfinished, prototype gear (which could also explain the suspicious fiddling with a button).

just take a look in his seat tube next time.. (which will undoubtedly be empty.. at least NOW) and if he loses royally, he probably was cheating, and if he wins in the same fashion.. then he truly is an incredible gifted athlete.

However, if history has proven anything …. incredible, gifted athletes (in any sport) RARELY do it on their own.

Topmounter - 06/02/10 - 3:44pm

Don’t they weight the bikes before each race / stage to make sure they are at least 14.99lb? it seems like an exceptionally heavy bike would throw up some red flags with the officials… wouldn’t it?

Steven Miller - 06/04/10 - 1:24am

If one reads the comments on YouTube, it is just plain scary how many people have fallen completely for this obvious hoax.

chadsmith71 - 06/04/10 - 5:01pm

It is surprising to read these comments, considering the history of doping in cycling. Tyler Hamilton was a nice guy, too. As were Ivan Basso, Erik Zabel, Floyd Landis, David Millar, Jan Ullrich, Bjarne Riis, Iban Mayo, Frankie Andreu, Leonardo Piepoli, Manuel Beltran, Stefan Schumacher, Davide Rebellin, Johan Musseuw, Danilo Di Luca, Jörg Jaksche, Danilo Hondo, Roberto Heras, Oscar Camenzind, Dario Frigo, Aitor Gonzolez, and just about every other rider that’s been busted for some form of doping – or confessed to doping in retirement – in the last decade. Suspicious hand movements by Cancellara are by no means incriminating evidence, especially when you consider these 2 videos are of the 2 hardest cobble-stoned classics in existence – maybe the dude’s hands just hurt, who the hell knows.

But the motorized seat tube insert DOES exists. Its real and to deny the *possibility* that pro riders are using it in races is naive. In my 18 years of racing bikes I’ve learned that, if a method to cheat exists, then the pros will exploit it, however “nice” they appear to be. I watched both Flanders and Paris-Roubaix live on the internet and my first reaction to Cancellara’s dominance was “that’s not natural”. This was before I’d even heard of mechanized doping. That’s not to say Cancellara isn’t a phenomenally gifted athlete, either. You can inject even a professional rider like Andrew Bajadali (just picked him off the top of my head) with EPO, HGH, Corticosteroids, and doped up blood, and he’d still never win the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. But at that level of competition, to simply ride a guy like Boonen off your wheel, and hold over 50km / hour to the finish – that’s just plain suspicious and should be treated as such, IMO.

At Paris-Roubaix he solo’d from like 50km. That’s just crazy. Musseuw solo’d from about 40k out and later admitted that it wasn’t a clean victory. That doesn’t necessarily negate Cancellara’s performance OR mean that b/c Musseuw couldn’t do it clean, then neither can Cancellara. It just means that pros have been proven to cheat and these types of superhuman feats should be treated skeptically at that level of competition.

No different than when Ricco stood up and just rocketed off the front in those 2 mountain stages of the tour he won, then got busted for days later. You could tell right then it was an unnatural effort.

I think the part about accelerating in the saddle is ridiculous though. Watch the “A Sunday in Hell” documentary about the 1976 Paris-Roubaix and you’ll see Roger Devlaemink and Franceso Moser accelerating in the saddle all the time. Prolly not a good idea to stand up and jump hard when riding cobbles at 30+ mph.

Regarding bikes and weighing them at the start – pros commonly change bikes during races, especially Ronde and Paris-Roubaix. I doubt they weigh or inspect EVERY bike on the team car. Seems like an easy work-around if you did have a motorized bike.

At any rate, no doubt the bike motor exists. You can buy it online.

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