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Moto-fraud: first rider caught

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17 Jun 2017 16:11

Of course IronDan- mine too, only more so.

Unfortunately yours is just about as plausible as the cool marginal gains story. As for my magical carpet ride, well, that probably was LSD fuelled.
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19 Jun 2017 13:00

http://www.newstalk.com/I-was-a-complete-dickhead--Lance-Armstrong-Off-The-Ball

About two thirds of the way into this interview with Lance, the interviewer stated that there was a big story about motors coming (bear in mind this was in October 2016. To my knowledge, no such story has ever broke so I wonder exactly what he was talking about or was he just trying to rile Armstrong.
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19 Jun 2017 17:24

The interviewer was about to interview Varjas a few days or weeks later. It was when Varjas, Betsy Andreu and the LeMonds were leaking info to the media that a very big story about motors was coming : Lance Armstrong was supposed to be exposed as the guy who paid 2 millions in 98 to have the exclusivity on Varjas motors for ten years. That's why Off the ball asked him so much about motors. He wanted Armstrong on record before the big revelation.
In his intervew, Varjas heavily implied that too. Promising that the story was going to be as big and as scandalous as the Festina affair.
All was supposed to be revealed in a 60 minutes episode in november/december.

Finaly the 60 minutes episode aired in late january and exposed close to nothing. Zero real proof. A demo with the 1999 Armstrong's bike with a 2016 motor in it rode by... Tyler Hamilton

Months later : nothing more from Varjas, not a single new interview (no idea if he refused them or if he just lost credibility and isn't asked anymore.) Betsy, after having clearly and repetitively implied Armstrong was going to get exposed is now denying having ever implied anything.
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19 Jun 2017 18:53

It was watered down significantly after legal threats from team Armstrong.

There is still plenty of evidence/indications though.
For instance, Varjas managed to show the CBS editors how to fit an old big-assed motor into a Trek replica from 1999. It's not proof, but downtubes were on average really small in the 90s, whilst motors were on average really big, and so it can be taken to suggest the Trek's downtubes were calculated to fit the motor in.
Of course it's also a matter of how (non)credible you find Varjas, but the CBS 60 Minute makers, the Lemonds, Ger Gilroy and several other sports journos clearly seem to find him credible (enough).

If you look upthread, you'll furthermore find that Lance for some reason clung on to downtube shifters and in 2003 refused to switch to an upgraded Trek model. You'll also see him make dodgy hand movements on his left hand break lever (whilst riding with downtube shifters) shortly before pacing away from Ulrich uphill with incredible ease.

None of which is *proof* of a motor. But a motor seems to be the hypothesis with most explanatory power.

NB: the search engine doesn't respond to key words "Lance" or "Armstrong" so you'll need to do some digging. If you look through Tienus' posts you're bound to find the goodies.
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Re:

20 Jun 2017 07:16

sniper wrote:It was watered down significantly after legal threats from team Armstrong.

There is still plenty of evidence/indications though.
For instance, Varjas managed to show the CBS editors how to fit an old big-assed motor into a Trek replica from 1999. It's not proof, but downtubes were on average really small in the 90s, whilst motors were on average really big, and so it can be taken to suggest the Trek's downtubes were calculated to fit the motor in.
Of course it's also a matter of how (non)credible you find Varjas, but the CBS 60 Minute makers, the Lemonds, Ger Gilroy and several other sports journos clearly seem to find him credible (enough).

If you look upthread, you'll furthermore find that Lance for some reason clung on to downtube shifters and in 2003 refused to switch to an upgraded Trek model. You'll also see him make dodgy hand movements on his left hand break lever (whilst riding with downtube shifters) shortly before pacing away from Ulrich uphill with incredible ease.

None of which is *proof* of a motor. But a motor seems to be the hypothesis with most explanatory power.

NB: the search engine doesn't respond to key words "Lance" or "Armstrong" so you'll need to do some digging. If you look through Tienus' posts you're bound to find the goodies.


Armstrong wasn't the only one, Ullrich and Beloki also stuck with a downtube shifter for the front derailleur
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20 Jun 2017 08:50

Yes, and interestingly, in 2006 the two Astana riders on the Vuelta podium also had downtube shifters.
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20 Jun 2017 17:01

If you search for images of Ulrich and Armstrong, you'll see Armstrong use a downtube shifter in the mountains but not on the easy final stage to Paris.
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20 Jun 2017 17:25

It's obvious that Lance has learned nothing...
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Re: Re:

21 Jun 2017 18:34

red_flanders wrote:
Semper Fidelis wrote:Pavement is the new "marginal Gain" not just the norm but the recycled low weight power pavement.


Not to argue but just makes me recall how people argued the pavement was smoother when Armstrong went nuclear up Hautacam. Those who want to believe will find a way...

I do remember that. Back on another forum it was an "excuse" used to explain the performance. That was such a long time ago now.

Pavement technology has changed a great deal since then and thus we have High Performance Pavement HPP which is a "marginal gain" and we also have "Light Weight Graphs" another "marginal gain". Technological advances just so much a factor now.
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22 Jun 2017 14:23

Given What we learned from Varjas and the detectability of motors, are the UCI going to weigh bike wheels at this years tour or has the process changed any?
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22 Jun 2017 14:30

Does UCI actually want to catch a rider using a motor and throw him out of the race?
Given their track record I'd say it's unlikely. Doubly so if it involves a top rider.
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22 Jun 2017 14:51

DanielSong39 wrote:Does UCI actually want to catch a rider using a motor and throw him out of the race?
Given their track record I'd say it's unlikely. Doubly so if it involves a top rider.


http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-refute-tour-de-france-mechanical-doping-allegations/

It is highly doubtful given the previous comments from Varjas and the obstrction from the UCI to the French Police in checking the bikes in the correct manner. Then we had the UCI sending Dave Brailsford an email thanking them for being the most co-operative team in the peloton. How hard is it to weigh the bikes and ensure that the checks are carried out properly if the police have requested this and if they wish to properly combat potential mechanical fraud. The previous comments from Varjas and Lemond are telling of itself:


"This is the scandal - not if they're being used or not used. If there is an organisation that is supposed to stop this problem, and they don't do it, I think they are complicit or something like this," Varjas added.

Kathy LeMond confirmed to Cyclingnews that Varjas spoke to French police, saying: "The gendarmes were not able to test the bikes themselves and were relying on the UCI to carry out the tests. The UCI refused to test the bikes in the manner Stefano recommended to uncover motor usage. Stefano believes the manner in which the UCI carried out the tests was insufficient to detect the motors."
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Re:

22 Jun 2017 20:55

DanielSong39 wrote:Does UCI actually want to catch a rider using a motor and throw him out of the race?
Given their track record I'd say it's unlikely. Doubly so if it involves a top rider.


I would imagine they would not, but they would also not like someone else (journalist) to prove a rider was using a motor. I would guess they would perceive such a scandal as very damaging to sponsorship and the bottom line.

The incentive would seem to be to know about who is using motors, if anyone. If they found someone doing it I am pretty sure they'd be well incentivized to deal with it quietly.
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23 Jun 2017 16:59

"This is the scandal - not if they're being used or not used. If there is an organisation that is supposed to stop this problem, and they don't do it, I think they are complicit or something like this," Varjas added.


Exactly this.

I have seen stuff where it looks like the UCI is more than complicit. Let me post one example:

Tour 2013 Alpe d'huez, the stage where Froome had a bad day and got a 20s penalty but arguably also the day he won the tour.
The other incident that day got less attention.

http://www.velonews.com/2013/07/tour-de-france/froome-contador-others-targeted-for-bike-weight-checks-at-alpe-dhuez_295850
Contador made two bike swaps during the stage, one prior to the first ascent up l’Alpe d’Huez, and one on the flat road before the second accent. The bike checks were announced between the two swaps, leading to speculation that Contador was forced to back off a long-range attack to swap back onto a UCI-legal bike for the finish climb.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x276afp_tour-de-france-2013-stage-18_shortfilms
The first 20s you hear the Saxo plan.
2:41:40 attack contador in descent
2:51:00 race radio bike weighing anouncement
2:52:50 20s gap
2:55:45 race radio feedzone anouncement
Contador and Kreuziger freewheeling after this and caught back.
3:01:20 Contador behind the group for a bike change.
3:19:17 Froome attacks with high cadence
3:36:00 illegal feed incident starts


A lot of coincidences:

Two anouncements within five minutes on rr which seem to influence the result of the stage.

Froome's team car breaks down and this is the reason he has no gel with him.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/cycling/tour-de-france/10188787/Tour-de-France-2013-Chris-Froome-holds-his-nerve-to-retain-the-yellow-jersey-as-Christophe-Riblon-wins-stage-18.html

Right when the team car is behind Froome he urgently needs the gel. The commentators note that there is a lot of communication before Froome starts calling extremely obvious for the car.

Questions I have:

Why did Contador change his bike twice.

Did Froome fake his suger low? And why did he not take a gel from his team mate?

Froome wrote about it in The Climb.
https://books.google.nl/books?id=zurJAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT395&lpg=PT395&dq=contador+%22bike+change%22&source=bl&ots=MaPHIHSg2c&sig=n4mZKiCg5P_oDcsFCo1C1YS0kiM&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj4-7jj3bDSAhWIVhoKHYwNA2A4ChDoAQhTMAc#v=onepage&q=contador%20%22bike%20change%22&f=false


iirc Kimmage was the only journalist who questioned what happened that day. I cant find the article now.
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Re:

24 Jun 2017 11:31

Tienus wrote:
"This is the scandal - not if they're being used or not used. If there is an organisation that is supposed to stop this problem, and they don't do it, I think they are complicit or something like this," Varjas added.


Exactly this.

I have seen stuff where it looks like the UCI is more than complicit. Let me post one example:

Tour 2013 Alpe d'huez, the stage where Froome had a bad day and got a 20s penalty but arguably also the day he won the tour.
The other incident that day got less attention.

http://www.velonews.com/2013/07/tour-de-france/froome-contador-others-targeted-for-bike-weight-checks-at-alpe-dhuez_295850
Contador made two bike swaps during the stage, one prior to the first ascent up l’Alpe d’Huez, and one on the flat road before the second accent. The bike checks were announced between the two swaps, leading to speculation that Contador was forced to back off a long-range attack to swap back onto a UCI-legal bike for the finish climb.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x276afp_tour-de-france-2013-stage-18_shortfilms
The first 20s you hear the Saxo plan.
2:41:40 attack contador in descent
2:51:00 race radio bike weighing anouncement
2:52:50 20s gap
2:55:45 race radio feedzone anouncement
Contador and Kreuziger freewheeling after this and caught back.
3:01:20 Contador behind the group for a bike change.
3:19:17 Froome attacks with high cadence
3:36:00 illegal feed incident starts


A lot of coincidences:

Two anouncements within five minutes on rr which seem to influence the result of the stage.

Froome's team car breaks down and this is the reason he has no gel with him.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/cycling/tour-de-france/10188787/Tour-de-France-2013-Chris-Froome-holds-his-nerve-to-retain-the-yellow-jersey-as-Christophe-Riblon-wins-stage-18.html

Right when the team car is behind Froome he urgently needs the gel. The commentators note that there is a lot of communication before Froome starts calling extremely obvious for the car.

Questions I have:

Why did Contador change his bike twice.

Did Froome fake his suger low? And why did he not take a gel from his team mate?

Froome wrote about it in The Climb.
https://books.google.nl/books?id=zurJAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT395&lpg=PT395&dq=contador+%22bike+change%22&source=bl&ots=MaPHIHSg2c&sig=n4mZKiCg5P_oDcsFCo1C1YS0kiM&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj4-7jj3bDSAhWIVhoKHYwNA2A4ChDoAQhTMAc#v=onepage&q=contador%20%22bike%20change%22&f=false


iirc Kimmage was the only journalist who questioned what happened that day. I cant find the article now.



Indeed, and on the subject of Contador and wheel changes, there were suspicions that arose previously during the 2015 Giro.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-checks-bikes-of-contador-hesjedal-and-gilbert-for-motors-at-giro-ditalia/

Given Varjas' previous comments in October 2016 and his assertion that the UCI overruled the French police in taking steps to improve the detection methods and making it more transparent, I would be interested to know have they implemented weighing bikes and wheel's to combat this threat.

I've checked Cookson's amnifesto and there is nothing but a vague comment about reviewing the procedures. Below is the paragraph from this manifesto:

Further invest in our work against technological fraud

I introduced rules against technological fraud, and sanctions appropriate to this type of cheating. Previously the UCI rules did not properly address this risk, the penalties envisaged were minimal, and there was no real system of checking for violations. We will continue to review and update our work and detection methods and extend this know-how across national federations.


For something that should be very simple to detect, the whole system of checking bikes is all very cloak and dagger and it is hard to have total faith in it.
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