By Henry Robertshaw published
An Italian amateur rider apparently detected with a motor in his bike after a race has denied any wrongdoing, suggesting that no motor was found in his bike and that he had to leave the race quickly - therefore preventing further checks - as he had to get to a wedding.
According to local press, race commissaires acted on a tip-off to use a thermal camera to spot what appeared to be a motor in 53-year-old Alessandro Andreoli's bike during a race in Bedizzole on Saturday.
After he finished third in the race, Andreoli was apparently asked to bring his bike to be inspected, refusing to have his bike disassembled to look for a hidden motor and leaving the race.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Andreoli denied that he had been using a hidden motor in his bike, and that he declined to have his bike disassembled by a mechanic as he had to leave for a wedding.
"They wanted to control my bike, the judges kept it for an hour and a half while I was getting changed, I had things to do," Andreoli said.
"They claimed there was a hidden motor but they didn’t find anything, the wheels didn’t turn.
"They say I had a hidden motor. If that’s true then the riders who finished ahead of me had motors too. I’ve seen a lot of people finish ahead of me while not suffering.
"I had to go to a wedding and it was getting late. I didn’t admit anything. They said there was a motor but didn’t find anything, the only buttons I have are to change gears."
Watch: What's it like to ride a motorised bike?
The race commissaires reportedly decided to use thermal cameras after a tip-off by some of Andreoli's rivals, with Andreoli saying that they were motivated by envy.
"I had a back problem and couldn’t move. I’ve solved the problem and I’ve been training well. It seems I’ve annoyed someone. They’re envious of my excellent lifestyle. I’ve been a tiler for a long time and earn a lot."
So far there has been only one previous reported incident of a rider being caught with a concealed motor in a top-level race, that of Belgian under-23 cyclo-cross rider Femke Van den Driessche.
Van den Driessche’s bike was discovered to contain a hidden motor at the 2016 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships. She was subsequently suspended by the UCI for six years and handed a £14,000 fine.
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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