Motor doping thread

Page 195 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Jun 24, 2021
7
7
45
I have been thinking about mechanical doping a lot lately. I have a simple solution that would seemingly outright prevent it:

Require HR, power, and speed data from all riders. It seems to me, if you use a thirty watt motor on a section of a climb, you would absolutely be able to detect it using the metrics above. For example, if a rider pulls away on a climb using a motor, the increase in speed should be reflected by an increase in power as well as heart rate. If watts stay the same, but speed significantly increases, there is obviously a motor at play. This seems quite fool proof to me. Am I missing something?
 
Reactions: jmdirt
I have been thinking about mechanical doping a lot lately. I have a simple solution that would seemingly outright prevent it:

Require HR, power, and speed data from all riders. It seems to me, if you use a thirty watt motor on a section of a climb, you would absolutely be able to detect it using the metrics above. For example, if a rider pulls away on a climb using a motor, the increase in speed should be reflected by an increase in power as well as heart rate. If watts stay the same, but speed significantly increases, there is obviously a motor at play. This seems quite fool proof to me. Am I missing something?
No you are not. Greg Lemond also suggested using power as a method of testing athletes, albeit a bit differently. This may be part of the way to go for WADA ... rather and a bio passport, cross correlate biological data with power and heart rate data. Certainly most people are using heart rate monitors and power meters in races. Might require some refinements in calibration process, but that would not be a bad thing (power meter calibration has been used to cheat in Zwift for example).
 
Reactions: jmdirt
I have been thinking about mechanical doping a lot lately. I have a simple solution that would seemingly outright prevent it:

Require HR, power, and speed data from all riders. It seems to me, if you use a thirty watt motor on a section of a climb, you would absolutely be able to detect it using the metrics above. For example, if a rider pulls away on a climb using a motor, the increase in speed should be reflected by an increase in power as well as heart rate. If watts stay the same, but speed significantly increases, there is obviously a motor at play. This seems quite fool proof to me. Am I missing something?
Cheating the meter seems like it would be the easiest of the cheats.
 
Reactions: Rico044 and jmdirt
I have been thinking about mechanical doping a lot lately. I have a simple solution that would seemingly outright prevent it:

Require HR, power, and speed data from all riders. It seems to me, if you use a thirty watt motor on a section of a climb, you would absolutely be able to detect it using the metrics above. For example, if a rider pulls away on a climb using a motor, the increase in speed should be reflected by an increase in power as well as heart rate. If watts stay the same, but speed significantly increases, there is obviously a motor at play. This seems quite fool proof to me. Am I missing something?
I typed above that IMO the best time to use a motor is before critical times while you are in the platoon because any noise wouldn't be noticeable, and you would be fresher when crunch time came. If you are with a small group the noise and visual would be too obvious.
 
Jun 24, 2021
7
7
45
Cheating the meter seems like it would be the easiest of the cheats.
That true, but I think ASO or the UCI could provide the power meter/ heart rate to each rider. Sure, it wouldn't be easy, but well worth it to me. Also, it would make the race a lot more interesting if they showed that data live on TV during the race.

I typed above that IMO the best time to use a motor is before critical times while you are in the platoon because any noise wouldn't be noticeable, and you would be fresher when crunch time came. If you are with a small group the noise and visual would be too obvious.
Yea, good point. They UCI would have to analyze the speed/data throughout the entire race. I'm sure that some smart coders could develop an algorithm to flag a suspicious speed increase relative to the other data (watts/HR). Or in the example you mentioned above, they would flag a suspicious drop in power and/or HR relative to the rest of the riders in whatever group the rider in question is in.
 
Reactions: jmdirt
Drop a bike out of your car onto the ground at 30mph just after spinning the wheels up to 30mph and report back if the bike A. stopped dead or B. observed Newton's Laws of Motion.
Well, that's a grapes to watermelon experiment. :rolleyes: Inertia is definitely at play in a crash, but shooting sideways across the road like that? Is it possible of course, is it a bit o_O, yes.
 
Jul 15, 2021
4
3
15
An engineer on YouTube called Hambini who makes his own bottom brackets and supplies pro teams has said in a video that he gets strange requests from the teams for when fitting the bottom brackets which lead him to believe teams were equipping frames with motors.

I've tried to find the video but it might deep in a 50 minute q and a.
 
The UCI should fund it,
Not being sarky here, I'm genuinely trying to engage with this idea but ...

Let's say we start with just WT teams. That's what, 500 or so riders? So that's 500 black boxes. But you also need wastage, for crashes, malfunctions etc. What do we add in, another couple of hundred?

Then, are we actually providing one per rider or one per bike? I mean, in a race if the guy crashes, does the new bike need a black box or not? So what have we done, multiplied the need by two? Or even three?

Yes, ASO and Velon already have this issue with on-bike cameras and transponders, but they're cheaper than a serious piece of kit that's hack-proof, right?

How does the UCI fund all these thousand-plus black boxes? The same as it does anti-doping, by pushing the cost back on the teams and the riders and the race organisers? Are the turkeys likely to vote for Christmas when the PCC get to decide on this issue?

And what we actually get at the end of all this? A system that is even more open to abuse than what it is supposed to be saving us from, right?

The data that's actually being measured, it needs context, doesn't it? Terrain context. Weight context. Take weight: piece of piss to hack that, surely? (A litre of water, a scales that's under or over actual weight, it's not a challenge.)

It sounds like a great idea, but once you dig into it it's as crazy as that time everyone thought Greg LeMond could just step in and replace Pat McQuaid as UCI president without a vote.
 
Reactions: jmdirt
So those of you are convinced that this was a bike with a motor in it. Some questions

What was the plan? The big pay off that would make the gamble worth it?

The rider didn't get in the break, didn't chase the break and just sat in a peloton that got lapped by the break. And it's a small time race anyway. Why put a motor in the bike and do sod all with it?
 
Reactions: jmdirt
Jul 15, 2021
4
3
15
So those of you are convinced that this was a bike with a motor in it. Some questions

What was the plan? The big pay off that would make the gamble worth it?

The rider didn't get in the break, didn't chase the break and just sat in a peloton that got lapped by the break. And it's a small time race anyway. Why put a motor in the bike and do sod all with it?
I don't think mechanical doping is a thing but I have wondered about this. And the uses is multi day races could be quite useful. Even being able to save 30w over a stage could add up in fatigue avoided over the course of a grand tour for example. So although a rider may not have used the motor to win, they could use it to stay fresher?
 
Reactions: jmdirt
Dec 2, 2020
70
64
280
How much would 180+ meters/monitors cost and how would races less well endowed than ASO's afford the cost?

Also, hacking. Like, d'uh.
This would never work anyway. I can’t even get my own HR monitor to work half the time I go up a climb, it just starts telling me I’m at 120HR when I’m completely maxed out and was at 140 on the flat. The evidence needed in court would never be enough. Look at Cancellara putting 30 seconds on Boonen in a minute, his HR is going to go up anyway, they will just point to that and say there’s no way to disprove anything.
 
Reactions: jmdirt
Jun 24, 2021
7
7
45
If it is too expensive, the teams can provide power meters. And yes, of course they can alter the data, but abnormal data from a couple of rouge riders would be easily spotted if you have the majority of the riders being honest. Plus we can get very close to estimating power on climbs. So make the riders weigh in with their bikes prior to every stage. That would make it easier to estimate power and spot data that is out of line. And if you believe that most of the teams would hack/cheat the data.....I'm not sure how you even watch this sport if that is honestly your outlook. Sure, a few teams/riders might, but not even close to the majority would. That is crazy talk.

I'm still not sure I even accept the premise that it would be too expensive. Having the data displayed on TV would only elevate the television viewing experience anyhow.
 
Reactions: jmdirt
So those of you are convinced that this was a bike with a motor in it. Some questions

What was the plan? The big pay off that would make the gamble worth it?

The rider didn't get in the break, didn't chase the break and just sat in a peloton that got lapped by the break. And it's a small time race anyway. Why put a motor in the bike and do sod all with it?
Testing.
 
If it is too expensive, the teams can provide power meters.
Right, yes, we can all see how clever and sensible a suggestion that is.
So make the riders weigh in with their bikes prior to every stage. That would make it easier to estimate power and spot data that is out of line.
What I love about this suggestion is that in 1924 Henri Pélissier told Albert Londres that such a day wold come, that riders would be weighed before the start of each stage. It's only taken the thick end of a century for someone to think it's sensible enough to proceed with.

On another point, how accurate does weight need to be to make the math work? Would having a rider one or two kilos heavier than they really are materially impact the data? Cause that's a litre or two of water just before weigh-in, isn't it?
And if you believe that most of the teams would hack/cheat the data.....I'm not sure how you even watch this sport if that is honestly your outlook. Sure, a few teams/riders might, but not even close to the majority would. That is crazy talk.
I'm not the one who believes that motors are such a problem that you need to bring in a sledgehammer like you're suggesting.

That said, it's only a few years since we had clear and incontrovertible evidence that more than 90% of the peloton was juiced up and we don't have any reliable evidence to tell us whether and by how much that figure has fallen in recent years. So maybe you're not such a cynic after all.
I'm still not sure I even accept the premise that it would be too expensive.
Do the math for me, please, do the math. How much would each black box cost: €50? €500? And how many boxes would we need: 200? 500? 1000? 1,500? The first answer multiplied by the second answer will set the floor on how much such a system would cost. The cost of operating the system - people to collate and analyse the data - goes on top of that. Given the level of math required for them to AI the hell out of the data I doubt they'd be on minimum wage.
 
An engineer on YouTube called Hambini who makes his own bottom brackets and supplies pro teams has said in a video that he gets strange requests from the teams for when fitting the bottom brackets which lead him to believe teams were equipping frames with motors.

I've tried to find the video but it might deep in a 50 minute q and a.
The video got deleted. I called him out on it because he claimed his Superlight alloy that only he can get under a licence is invisible to UCI's Ultrasonic detectors and that's why the teams go to him to hide the motors. Anyone even remotely interested knows UCI do not use ultrasonic detectors.
On researching who Hambini is, he's an engineer in local firm working in the rotational engineering industry who make bottom brackets on the side. All the aerospace and aerodynamics claims is a fabrication. When you look into it, he lives around the corner from his mum with his sister.
 
Well, that's a grapes to watermelon experiment. :rolleyes: Inertia is definitely at play in a crash, but shooting sideways across the road like that? Is it possible of course, is it a bit o_O, yes.
The bike is actually on both wheels after the crash that's why. The front wheel has rotated all the way until bars hit top tube and so the front wheel then simply steers the bike as seen in the video from the inertia of the bike having been crashed at 57kph according to the rider.
 
This would never work anyway. I can’t even get my own HR monitor to work half the time I go up a climb, it just starts telling me I’m at 120HR when I’m completely maxed out and was at 140 on the flat. The evidence needed in court would never be enough. Look at Cancellara putting 30 seconds on Boonen in a minute, his HR is going to go up anyway, they will just point to that and say there’s no way to disprove anything.
do you use a wrist monitor ? I never have any kind of problems with a chest one
 
So those of you are convinced that this was a bike with a motor in it. Some questions

What was the plan? The big pay off that would make the gamble worth it?

The rider didn't get in the break, didn't chase the break and just sat in a peloton that got lapped by the break. And it's a small time race anyway. Why put a motor in the bike and do sod all with it?
The main advantage of motor doping is exactly what we see here which is applying a slight enhancement of the power while the rider is sitting in the peloton. In that way he can spare his own power till later in the race. Motordoping is probably not suited for high power sprinting.
 
Reactions: jmdirt
Dec 2, 2020
70
64
280
do you use a wrist monitor ? I never have any kind of problems with a chest one
Yeah, do you have any issue with the chest monitor sliding down or losing place? It’s weird because the wrist monitor is usually accurate but oddly goes haywire almost every time I’m on a sustained climb.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS