Brailsford denies Chris Froome's lack of attacks is due to motor checks

When posed a question about motorised doping, Sir Dave Brailsford insisted you'd have to be stupid to use a motor at the Tour de France

Photo: Graham Watson
(Image credit: Watson)

In a bizarre moment in the Team Sky rest day press conference, team principal Sir Dave Brailsford insisted rumours of Tour de France leader Chris Froome having a motor in his bike was ridiculous.

The UCI is using numerous methods of detection in the race, including thermal imaging, and it is also thought that x-ray machines were being used at the top of the summit finish on stage nine.

When Froome was posed a question asking whether his lack of big attacks in the Pyrénées was a result of the increased checks for motors in bikes at this year's race, Brailsford stepped in.

"Finding an engine in a bike is a pretty simple thing to do in this day and age," Brailsford said.

"The technology used to beam the [TV] pictures up to the satellite is a lot more complex, and used on a day-to-day basis, than finding a motor in a bike. You just need the right tech to find it. You’ve either got an engine in your bike or you haven’t."

Watch highlights of stage nine of the 2016 Tour de France

It's unsure whether the accusation was that Froome didn't want to be caught with a motor this year, or that he had used one in previous years, but either way it didn't go down well with the Sky boss.

Officials check hundreds of bikes - race and spares - before and after each stage, with no positive results for motors in road racing since the increase in suspicion this spring.

Following the discovery of a motor in U23 cyclo-cross racer Femke van den Driessche's bike in February, suspicions have been high that the technology was prevalent in road racing.

A motorbike passenger with a thermal imaging camera has been scanning bikes while the race is in progress this year, with Steve Cummings subjected to the test as he sped off the peloton on his victorious stage seven ride.

People from the industry gave us their thoughts on motor doping

"[Froome's] bike has been tested more than everyone else’s, we get tested every day and we actually had an email from the UCI saying thank you for being the most cooperative team out of everybody when it comes to bike checks and mechanical checking," Brailsford continued.

"If someone is stupid enough come here with a motor in their bike for sure they will get caught."

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.