A 43-year-old amateur rider who was found to have used a bike with a motor during a race in southern France has been found guilty of fraud, and punished with, among other things, a €1 fine to the French Cycling Federation (FFC).
Cyril Fontayne was caught using a motor during a third-category race in the Dordogne region of France, and having already been banned from competition for five years by the FFC, has now also been punished by the criminal justice system.
The Pergieux Criminal Court imposed a number of punishments on Fontayne at a hearing on Tuesday, as reported by Le Parisien (opens in new tab), sentencing him to 60 hours of community service, a €88 (£78) fine to the Créon-d'Armagnac Cycling Club which organised another race in which he used the motorised bike, and a €1 (89p) in damages to the FFC.
Suspicions were raised about Fontayne’s performances in the summer of 2017 after he began racing on a new bike, putting in strong performances that saw him climb with first-category riders at a race near Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil in the Dordogne region of south-west France.
Officials were then tipped off, arriving at Fonta7ne’s next race in St-Michel-de-Double to observe his performance and examine his bike. However upon seeing the officials Fontayne abandoned the race before attempting to drive off with his bike in his car, being successfully pursued in a car chase by former professional rider turned anti-doping official Christophe Bassons.
Bassons was among those to welcome the conviction of Fontayne in a criminal court, saying that he hoped that the fact that cheating in a bike race had landed an individual with a criminal record would act as a deterrent to others trying to cheat in the same way.
Watch: What's it like to ride a motorised bike?
Fontayne’s case is the second example of a rider being banned from racing for what is officially known as “technological fraud” after Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche was caught with a motor in her spare bike at the Cyclocross World Championships in 2016. Van den Driessche was banned for six years by the UCI, but by that point had already announced her retirement from the sport aged 19.
Fontayne is not the only amateur to be caught using a hidden motor in a race, with a 53-year-old Italian amateur also being caught last summer, reportedly refusing to let officials check his bike after a race as he “had a wedding to go to” (opens in new tab).
However this is the first example of a rider receiving a judicial sentence as a result of technological fraud, something that is possible due to France's strict laws on sporting fraud.
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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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