Jumbo-Visma rebuffs motor doping accusations at Vuelta a España

Dutch squad say it is just focusing on winning the race, not "delusions"

Jumbo-Visma at the Vuelta a España
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jumbo-Visma has rebuffed motor-doping accusations made against it by former B&B Hotels team boss and French ex-pro cyclist Jérôme Pineau, noting that they were unsubstantiated.

The Dutch squad are currently occupying all three podium positions at the Vuelta a España, with Sepp Kuss in the red jersey, followed by Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard. There is no evidence that this success had been aided by any illegal methods, including motor doping.

The level of dominance has led to a few on social media questioning their performance, but Pineau went further. On Monday Pineau, appearing on RMC Sport in France, pointed to a moment on Friday's stage 13 on the Col du Tourmalet when Kuss accelerated, paused, and then went again. 

The reason for the incident, Pineau said, was "mechanical", heavily implying motors were involved.

He said: "The acceleration from Sepp Kuss on the Tourmalet, 10km/h faster than the group, with [Remco] Evenepoel absent but with top riders like [Juan] Ayuso and [Cian] Uijdtebroecks, no slouches on the bike, and Kuss comes along 10km/h faster. There’s a spectator who steps out, he brakes and gets going again 10km/h faster… on the Tourmalet. How do you explain that? How can someone explain that to me?”

Pineau did not offer any evidence to substantiate his allegations, which included questioning Jumbo's 1-2-3 victory at on the opening stage of Paris-Nice last year. 

Motor doping has been a subject of intrigue for years, but no men's WorldTour rider has ever been found breaking the rules this way, despite extensive checks.

Pineau managed the B&B Hotels-KTM team until it ceased to exist at the end of 2022. The B&B project ended in disappointment as funds could not be found to support its extant men's or a mooted women's team for 2023, leaving some riders - including Mark Cavendish and Audrey Cordon-Ragot - without a squad. 

A spokesman for Jumbo-Visma said that the squad was focused on winning the Vuelta, and that Pineau's comments should not be given oxygen.

"We continue to explain transparently how we work and what the basis of our successes is (nutrition, altitude training, top equipment, etc.)," the spokesman said.

"In addition, we find it strange that the media give someone a platform without being able to properly substantiate his accusations. Especially knowing the damage that the same person has recently done to cycling with his delusions."

According to cycling's governing body, the UCI, a total of 997 checks were carried out across all 21 stages of the Tour de France, and all came back negative.

The organisation said that 837 checks were carried out at the start of stages using magnetic tablets which were used to check for the presence of possible propulsion systems hidden in the tubes and other components of riders' bikes. A further 160 tests were then carried out at the end of various stages using either backscatter or x-ray transmission technology.

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.