Movistar hid a broken bicycle on the ninth stage of the Vuelta a España and started a storm on social media. The team’s broken Canyon bike was taken to the soigneur’s car and to the hotel from the top of the support car, but speculation brewed that the team might be hiding a motor or something sinister.
In the ninth stage to Cumbre del Sol, in Spain’s south-east at the end of the Vuelta’s first week, Spaniard Imanol Erviti crashed, cracking the seat tube of his bike. The team’s mechanic Thomas Amezaga arrived and gave Erviti a new bike and told the soigneur already on the scene to “hide” the old one.
The video emerged on September 3 but attracted the most attention after journalists and cyclists commented on it on Twitter on Sunday night.
“We had a crash and three riders broke their bikes, three riders and three bikes,” head mechanic, Amezaga explained to Cycling Weekly.
“We had Erviti’s spare bike in the car. When we arrived, another team [member] was helping, but I gave Erviti his spare bike because his bike was broken on the seat tube. No problem, I gave him a new bike.
“It’s normal when a bike is broken to put the bike inside the car because if the photographers take shots it can be a problem for the sponsors.”
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Since Fabian Cancellara’s winning attacks in the 2010 Classics, motorised bikes have been a hot topic in cycling. Cycling’s governing body, the UCI has been controlling bikes rigorously since the start of this season, including in Spain at the Vuelta.
Amezaga knows about the rumours, but said the just wanted the broken Canyon frame out of the public’s eye.
He added: “For us, it’s normal to change the bike and to put the bike in the car and take it to the hotel because the frame is broken and for the sponsor, it’s important that the bike is not seen.”
Due to the problems with the electric shifting and the battery, the team said that it had removed the seat and seat post after the crash.