LIBOURNE, France (VN) – Salacious reports that the Tour de France field could be riddled with engines and mysterious hubs circled overnight.
A Swiss newspaper cited anonymous sources to suggest that there were “strange sounds” emanating from the hubs of some of the best teams in the peloton, suggesting illicit technology fraud.
When asked if the riders had heard any strange noises in the peloton during this Tour, Mikkel Bjerg, a yellow jersey teammate Tadej Pogačar, offered an ironic response to the mysterious noises.
“I saw a Tweet yesterday, and we kinda scoffed at it, because on the first crosswind leg I had a rice cake stuck on my rear wheel,” said Bjerg. VeloNews. “It was going tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck!” Oh man, this is the sound of the rice cake!
Read also: Report raises specter of “motorized doping”
All kidding aside, reports of illicit motorized assistance continue to surface in the media.
Still, riders shake their heads in collective dismay, saying the idea of motors hidden inside bikes seems a bit of an exaggeration, at least at WorldTour level, where bikes are regularly checked and x-rayed.
“I didn’t hear any strange noises,” said former world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo). “If people think we have motors in bikes, they are more than welcome to check them out to see if we have them. We also do our homework – that’s a big joke.
“Of course, it would be nice to have a motor to pump 100 watts all day,” Pedersen said. VeloNews with a smile. ” I do not know where [the reports] are coming. If there is a new hub on the wheel, maybe it makes a different noise than normal. I didn’t hear anything special.
Read also: UCI says there is no evidence of tech fraud halfway through Tour de France
On Friday, the Pogacar yellow jersey pushed back reports of motorcycles or some sort of illicit hub.
“I don’t know. We don’t hear any noise,” a puzzled Pogačar said when questioned by reporters on Friday. “We’re not using anything illegal. It’s all Campagnolo materials… I don’t know what to say.
Despite the growing popularity of e-bikes, which are powered by electric motors, and some suggestions that riders may have used them in the past, most of the peloton’s pros claim that the idea of illicit motors or other frauds technological development is highly unlikely.
“I can only speak for myself, but I know how I get to this level in cycling,” said Saturday stage winner Wout van Aert, interviewed by VeloNews. “I worked really hard for it. I can’t believe it’s on our team. This is not happening.
“It’s hard for others to say. I haven’t seen anything extraordinary on this Tour, ”said van Aert. “There are a lot of talent and strong guys who were perfectly prepared for this – that’s what makes the difference, not things like that.”
Tour de France: the UCI declares that no offense has been committed after 720 inspections for “engine doping” https://t.co/u26VQN121C
– Michael Learmonth (@learmonth) July 13, 2021
However, the UCI takes the threat of “engine doping” very seriously.
Cycling’s governing body checks dozens of bikes a day before each stage of the Tour, scanning frames with an iPad for hidden batteries. At the finish lines throughout the Tour, some bikes of the jersey holders, the stage winner and other randomly selected bikes are x-rayed. Bicycles can also be dismantled.
After the introduction of improved detection methods and the deployment of a mobile x-ray laboratory, no evidence of technological fraud was detected during a major WorldTour race.
The riders joked that they wish they had engines, but seriously speaking, no one said they had never seen or heard engines in the peloton.
“For me, it’s a bit crazy. If you really watch it, we’re doing slower times, ”Bjerg said. “If we have engines, we should do group sprints faster and climb faster. I don’t know who made up this story.