Wilier has released an official response to the alleged mechanical doping incident at the Cyclocross World Championships

Wilier has distanced itself from the alleged motorised doping incident at the women’s Under 23 Cyclocross World Championships in Belgium on Saturday, releasing a statement saying they only provide the frames to the Belgian team.

>>> Everything you need to know about the motorised doping scandal

A Wilier cyclocross bike racked for 19-year old Femke Van den Driessche, the current Belgian and European Under-23 Women’s Champion, was detained by UCI inspectors who suspected “technological fraud”. The nature of this fraud has still not been announced by the UCI.

>>> Are electromagnetic wheels the leading form of motorised doping?

Femke Van Den Dreissche

Femke Van Den Dreissche riding a Wilier frame

In its response, Wilier makes clear that it provides standard publicly-available frames to the team and that any device found in a frames is the result of modification after it left the Wilier factory. The company further emphasises its rejection of such means to gain advantage and its intention to take any necessary legal action to safeguard its reputation.

>>> Eddy Merckx calls for lifetime ban for motorised doping

The full text of Wilier’s response is reproduced below:

This whole situation has come as a total shock to the Wilier factory.  To be clear, we supplied only off-the-shelf framesets to this team, exactly the same frames as any member of the public can purchase from us. We did not supply them with complete bicycles.

To find that they have been used to cheat in this way is totally unacceptable and absolutely contrary to the basic values of our company, and against the principles of any sporting competition.

Everyone knows kits to fit concealed motors to a standard frame are readily available.  However, I also want to make it clear that the Wilier factory does not, and never has supplied bikes or frames fitted with a concealed motor, not ever.  Any bikes fitted with such technology have been modified by third parties with no involvement from the Wilier factory.

Our brand has 110 years of proud history and we work hard every day to produce quality products that are sold worldwide.  To hear that a Wilier Triestina frame has been tampered with in order to cheat in international competition makes us disappointed and upset.  To safeguard the good name of our company we will take any necessary legal action against the athlete and anyone responsible for this very serious matter.

In the meantime, like everyone else, we await official clarification from the UCI on exactly what was found inside the bike.  When the full facts are known, it will be clear to everyone that the respected name of Wilier Triestina had no involvement in this matter.

  • John Westwell

    But there’s the problem with doping – it tends not to end well. Rendell’s book is unsparing in describing Pantani’s self-delusion and decline, Armstrong is facing bankruptcy, Boogerd recently lost his job and can’t work in cycling for two years, Michael Rasmussen’s career ended in disgrace, Tyler Hamilton was treated for clinical depression – the list goes on.
    I don’t disagree that management should also shoulder plenty of blame and maybe some of the penalties as well. David Millar’s book details how insidious pressure was put on him to dope, and – from the other side of the coin – Christophe Bassons describes how the same pressures were brought ot bear on him, and how he was gently forced out of the Festina team when he didn’t buy into their programme.

  • John Westwell

    Pantani was unfortunate to compete in an era when almost everyone was using EPO. He was almost certainly using it for the whole of his professional career. When he had a serious crash in 1995, his red blood cell count dropped to dangerously low levels whilst he was in intensive care. It’s thought that his body was so attuned to receiving EPO to boost his haematocrit levels that it had lost the ability to produce the cells naturally.

    His popularity almost certainly relies on him riding with ‘panache’. I wouldn’t defend what he did, but having twice seen him win on Alpe d’Huez, it’s hard to erase the excitement that he generated winning in the way he did. And it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for someone whose life ended so tragically.

  • Odd Bloke

    I’m fairly new to cycling so the whole doping thing is rather bizarre to me. It seems that over the years cycling’s been singled out for a large amount of stick over it whereas other sports have ducked under the radar. However, i fail to understand why almost everyone jumps up to support Pantani. He, and the majority of the peloton were all cheating. End of. Anyway, i drifting off the subject. As to my original comment, I’ve learnt something today – thank you for that.

  • John Westwell

    You said that Pantani rode for Wilier. He didn’t, he rode for Mercatone Uno. Wilier provided bikes for one season whilst he rode for them. He – and his Mercatone Uno team – concluded a deal with Bianchi to supply bikes for the following seasons until the team collapsed in about 2002/3. Quite why Wilier would feel a need to distance itself from a rider who – at the time he rode their bikes – didn’t test positive for anything is quite puzzling. If any bike manufacturer profited from Panatani’s career it’s Bianchi.

    The implication you were making – or certainly what I inferred from your post – is that because Wilier didn’t distance itself from Pantani, its attempt to distance itself from the current problems is somehow hypocritical. I’m not sure that a bike company wants any adverse publicity from doping, but possibly you know differently.

  • Odd Bloke

    Oh i see, he started doping in 1999 did he? I’m not implying anything of the sort.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    You talk some rubbish at least get your facts correct.

  • John Westwell

    Pantani rode for Mercatone Uno. Wilier supplied bikes during the 1997 season. However, Pantani achieved his greatest successes the following season when Bianchi was supplying bikes to the team. His doping positive came during the 1999 season, still riding on Bianchi bikes.

    If you’re implying that Wilier somehow condones or is complicit in motors being added to its bikes, I’m sure the UCI would be interested to hear from you.

  • Pedal Er

    That’s probably because he helped them shift lots of bikes.

  • Odd Bloke

    Pantani rode for Wilier. They never “distanced” themselves from him.