Motor doping thread

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What "first" altitude training camp? He had at least 4 in the last 12 months so I am curious what exactly do you mean.
Sorry, a "rappel altitude" i.e. an altitude reminder (which according to Gaudu was the first year he's ever done one before the Tour): David Gaudu, 9e du Dauphiné : « Le plus important n'est pas mon classement général » - L'Équipe (lequipe.fr)

(Interview from June 6th after the Dauphiné):

Je repars dès demain (lundi) pour un rappel d'altitude. C'est la première année que je vais faire ça, j'avais envie d'essayer, c'est l'année ou jamais. »
"I'm going tomorrow for an altitude reminder. It's the first year I'm doing one & I wanted to try it. It's this year or never".

...


My point stands, i.e. these teams (like FDJ) are behind the curve in terms of training & preparation for the Tour de France. They were when Pinot was their main guy & remain so today with Gaudu. And it's just small details like Gaudu's altitude reminder which add up to a bigger picture.
 
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Yes exactly, it's a small detail.

From the quote, I can only gather that this was the first year that Gaudu went to altitude post Dauphine, not that FDJ doesn't do it out of some principle.

And talking about budgets, as you have noted yourself, Jumbo are mid-range. So obviously it's not really about budgets alone. I mean if we go by L'Equipe numbers 15M out of the 50M of Ineos budget was spent on just 5 riders. The main budget difference comes from rider salaries and you can't automatically assume that a team with x times the overall budget would have x times the training budget as well.

All in all, the whole 'FDJ are behind the curve' seems like an updated version of the 'French are just lazy' line from 20 years ago. They don't have the Ineos budget and gasp didn't send Gaudu to altitude pre-Tour before, but it's stretch to assume that they are behind the curve and should 'invariably be getting trounced'.
 
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Jul 5, 2021
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I have a hard time believing that motorized doping is being used in a pro peleton.
Can someone explain to me how that would work? Questions I have:
  • I want to see an example of a motor being used in a pro-bike, how does it look? can we buy it?
  • If we can't buy it, who makes these things?
  • If someone of the radar (so no Shimano or whatever) makes these things in his basement, how advanced are they?
  • There are bike checks right? It seems to me nearly impossible to hide a motor in your bike. Especially now they use X-ray gear. So how would they NOT find the motor? Swap the bikes?
  • If they swap the bikes, is everybody turning a blind eye when that happens?
  • This should be the easiest catch for police and justice. Just get all the bikes and turn them inside out. So isn't the suggestion that motorized bike doping is being used a bit unrealistic?
I'm sure it happened in the history of cycling, I think of that Cancellara acceleration, but there's also real proof, that XC rider woman who got caught. But see, it's so ridiculously easy to get caught that I don't believe it's happening. Unless someone can tell me how...
 
I have a hard time believing that motorized doping is being used in a pro peleton.
Can someone explain to me how that would work? Questions I have:
  • I want to see an example of a motor being used in a pro-bike, how does it look? can we buy it?
  • If we can't buy it, who makes these things?
  • If someone of the radar (so no Shimano or whatever) makes these things in his basement, how advanced are they?
  • There are bike checks right? It seems to me nearly impossible to hide a motor in your bike. Especially now they use X-ray gear. So how would they NOT find the motor? Swap the bikes?
  • If they swap the bikes, is everybody turning a blind eye when that happens?
  • This should be the easiest catch for police and justice. Just get all the bikes and turn them inside out. So isn't the suggestion that motorized bike doping is being used a bit unrealistic?
I'm sure it happened in the history of cycling, I think of that Cancellara acceleration, but there's also real proof, that XC rider woman who got caught. But see, it's so ridiculously easy to get caught that I don't believe it's happening. Unless someone can tell me how...
Correction: Femka was CX not XC.

-I agree with your first point. I have seen several videos of hub motors that work in a bike stand, but none actually out for a ride, let a lone race. EDIT: hidden hub motors
--notice both of the videos shared above: neither shows the motor actually moving the bike (likely because it can't or can't for any period of time), and neither pan out to show the entire bike (likely because they don't want us to see the rest of the system).
--As I pointed out, none of the videos show disc brake hubs (all but one PT team uses discs).
-I also agree with you about bike checks. The argument against that is that the UCI is in on it (the iPad is fake, the xray trailer is an empty box...). I don't agree.
 
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Yes exactly, it's a small detail.

From the quote, I can only gather that this was the first year that Gaudu went to altitude post Dauphine, not that FDJ doesn't do it out of some principle.

And talking about budgets, as you have noted yourself, Jumbo are mid-range. So obviously it's not really about budgets alone. I mean if we go by L'Equipe numbers 15M out of the 50M of Ineos budget was spent on just 5 riders. The main budget difference comes from rider salaries and you can't automatically assume that a team with x times the overall budget would have x times the training budget as well.

All in all, the whole 'FDJ are behind the curve' seems like an updated version of the 'French are just lazy' line from 20 years ago. They don't have the Ineos budget and gasp didn't send Gaudu to altitude pre-Tour before, but it's stretch to assume that they are behind the curve and should 'invariably be getting trounced'.
Somewhat off topic, and I might post elsewhere, but if the movistar documentaries accurately indicate how they run their team, then they could perform a lot better! Knuckleheads :p
 
Dec 2, 2020
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I have a hard time believing that motorized doping is being used in a pro peleton.
Can someone explain to me how that would work? Questions I have:
  • I want to see an example of a motor being used in a pro-bike, how does it look? can we buy it?
  • If we can't buy it, who makes these things?
  • If someone of the radar (so no Shimano or whatever) makes these things in his basement, how advanced are they?
  • There are bike checks right? It seems to me nearly impossible to hide a motor in your bike. Especially now they use X-ray gear. So how would they NOT find the motor? Swap the bikes?
  • If they swap the bikes, is everybody turning a blind eye when that happens?
  • This should be the easiest catch for police and justice. Just get all the bikes and turn them inside out. So isn't the suggestion that motorized bike doping is being used a bit unrealistic?
I'm sure it happened in the history of cycling, I think of that Cancellara acceleration, but there's also real proof, that XC rider woman who got caught. But see, it's so ridiculously easy to get caught that I don't believe it's happening. Unless someone can tell me how...
I can’t answer your questions but I suspect there is something more complex going on than a straightforward motor in the way we think of it. Maybe something magnetically charged or in the cleats of the riders for all we know (some have suggested a water bottle battery, which could also fool temperature cameras). That way they could have an innocuous looking motor while the power source is impossible to find. I’d also suspect they only use it on key stages or when they have reason to believe it’s easier to get away with.
 
I can’t answer your questions but I suspect there is something more complex going on than a straightforward motor in the way we think of it. Maybe something magnetically charged or in the cleats of the riders for all we know (some have suggested a water bottle battery, which could also fool temperature cameras). That way they could have an innocuous looking motor while the power source is impossible to find. I’d also suspect they only use it on key stages or when they have reason to believe it’s easier to get away with.
Are you telling me when I thought I was watching bike races I was actually watching the newest James Bond?

In seriousness, though, where do these suspicions really come from? What speaks for motor doping instead of the old-fashioned pharma kind?
 
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Dec 2, 2020
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Are you telling me when I thought I was watching bike races I was actually watching the newest James Bond?

In seriousness, though, where do these suspicions really come from? What speaks for motor doping instead of the old-fashioned pharma kind?
I’m not convinced motor doping is the primary kind of cheating but we’ve seen many obvious looking examples of it and there’s clearly a lot of cheating going on that isn’t being caught, whether it be old fashioned drugs or something else. It’s worth at least considering even if not common I think.
 
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I wonder if you could ever recover your career if you got caught motor doping? It seems to me that if Valverde/Contador (just naming two high profile busts) would have had a way harder time getting embraced by the public again if that were the case. Seems riskier to me at least in that regard.
I seriously doubt it, because it's so completely antithetical to the concept of the sport that it can't be argued away the way that doping can and frequently is. It would be like Rosie Ruiz type notoriety. The problem is, we only have the one example to point to, and Femke van den Driessche said very early on that she wasn't going to be coming back, and to be honest given the whole situation and all that had gone on before that with the family, it's hardly surprising she wouldn't want to subject herself to it to be the guinea pig.
 
I have a hard time believing that motorized doping is being used in a pro peleton.
Can someone explain to me how that would work? Questions I have:
  • I want to see an example of a motor being used in a pro-bike, how does it look? can we buy it?
  • If we can't buy it, who makes these things?
  • If someone of the radar (so no Shimano or whatever) makes these things in his basement, how advanced are they?
  • There are bike checks right? It seems to me nearly impossible to hide a motor in your bike. Especially now they use X-ray gear. So how would they NOT find the motor? Swap the bikes?
  • If they swap the bikes, is everybody turning a blind eye when that happens?
  • This should be the easiest catch for police and justice. Just get all the bikes and turn them inside out. So isn't the suggestion that motorized bike doping is being used a bit unrealistic?
I'm sure it happened in the history of cycling, I think of that Cancellara acceleration, but there's also real proof, that XC rider woman who got caught. But see, it's so ridiculously easy to get caught that I don't believe it's happening. Unless someone can tell me how...
I agree. On bike checks, if they are actually done by any decent mechanic it would be completely impossible to conceal motors (or an energy recovery device).

When I raced BMX as a kid all our bikes were scrutineered before every meet for safety. Yes looking for motors requires more effort but this is professional sport it isn't difficult nor expensive. Use of X-Ray machines would make it easier to mass check bikes. But if you only check the winners you don't even need that.
 
Reactions: jmdirt
I agree. On bike checks, if they are actually done by any decent mechanic it would be completely impossible to conceal motors (or an energy recovery device).

When I raced BMX as a kid all our bikes were scrutineered before every meet for safety. Yes looking for motors requires more effort but this is professional sport it isn't difficult nor expensive. Use of X-Ray machines would make it easier to mass check bikes. But if you only check the winners you don't even need that.
I completely agree. If the UCI wanted to completely address doubts, they would also just take some of these bikes out for a spin. Between that and all the other measures, it would be very hard to hide it. I would take a bike out for a ride before I chop it apart (likes Roglic last year).

Having said all of this, it is pretty easy to understand where the doubts come from. Having raced quite a bit myself, it is pretty easy to tell when there's a very unnatural cadence and movement pattern occurring. And we have certainly seen that in races of years past.

For what it's worth, for reasons already stated above, it would be next to impossible to recover from a positive motor doping offense. Even hardcore dopers have said they would never motor dope!
 
Are you telling me when I thought I was watching bike races I was actually watching the newest James Bond?

In seriousness, though, where do these suspicions really come from? What speaks for motor doping instead of the old-fashioned pharma kind?
Well there's not the possibility of health risks like with pharma-doping, unless the others catch you at it. I would straight up kick somebody's ass if I found out they beat me using a motor.
 
I can’t answer your questions but I suspect there is something more complex going on than a straightforward motor in the way we think of it. Maybe something magnetically charged or in the cleats of the riders for all we know (some have suggested a water bottle battery, which could also fool temperature cameras). That way they could have an innocuous looking motor while the power source is impossible to find. I’d also suspect they only use it on key stages or when they have reason to believe it’s easier to get away with.
Not the magnets again, please. If you're going to suggest something like this then please read through the thread. Please.
 
Jun 24, 2021
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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
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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

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