Ital­ian am­a­teur de­nies mo­torised bike ad­mis­sion

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - — AFP

An Ital­ian am­a­teur cy­clist has de­nied us­ing a mo­torised bi­cy­cle af­ter be­ing dis­qual­i­fied from a race for me­chan­i­cal dop­ing, ac­cord­ing to Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport. Act­ing on a tip-off, or­gan­is­ers used a ther­mal cam­era to iden­tify the mo­tor and claimed that 53-year-old Alessan­dro An­dreoli had even ad­mit­ted to cheat­ing. But in an in­ter­view in yes­ter­day’s Gazzetta, An­dreoli de­nied ei­ther hav­ing a mo­tor in his bike or hav­ing ad­mit­ted to us­ing it.

“We had a tip off. When we looked, we saw that in the seat tube of one rider it looked as though there was a fire,” Emil­iano Scalfi, vice pres­i­dent of the am­a­teur sports body that or­gan­ised the race, told the paper. It is the sec­ond in­stance of me­chan­i­cal dop­ing af­ter then Bel­gian teenager Femke Van den Driess­che was caught with a mo­torised bi­cy­cle at the Cy­clo-cross world cham­pi­onships in Bel­gium in 2016.

An­dreoli fin­ished third in Satur­day’s race in Bedi­z­zole, near Bres­cia, af­ter which he was asked to bring his bike to be in­spected. Scalfi, of the Cen­tro Sportivo Ital­iano, claimed he then owned up, but An­dreoli, de­clined to join or­gan­is­ers in tak­ing apart the bike to check the tube, de­nied any such ad­mis­sion.

“I had to go to a wed­ding, it was get­ting late,” he said as ex­pla­na­tion for re­fus­ing to have the bike taken apart. “But I didn’t ad­mit to any­thing. They looked for a switch but couldn’t find one,” An­dreoli told Gazzetta, al­though the news­pa­per pub­lished a photo of the bike in ques­tion pur­port­ing to show the switch.

Asked why he had been dis­qual­i­fied given his ver­sion of events, An­dreoli replied: “I don’t know, maybe be­cause they said I had a mo­tor. “In that case those who fin­ished along­side me had mo­tors. There were a lot of rid­ers at the front and no-one both­ered them.” An­dreoli sug­gested he was the vic­tim of a stitch-up mo­ti­vated by jeal­ousy over his “high stan­dard of liv­ing”.

“Ob­vi­ously some­one doesn’t like me,” he said. “I’ve been a tiler for many years and I earn a lot.”

Asked where he had bought the bike, An­dreoli said it was from an ac­quain­tance, whose name and phone num­ber he’d for­got­ten. “We met in the street, I liked the bike, he gave me a great price and I took it,” he said.

Asked about claims that he’d re­cently started rid­ing much faster than be­fore, the 53-year-old gave a sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion. “Be­fore I had back pain but I’m bet­ter now and train­ing hard.” Ru­mours have been rife for years that mo­torised bi­cy­cles were be­ing used to gain an un­fair ad­van­tage at ma­jor cy­cling races but un­til 2016 none had ever been found in com­pe­ti­tion.

Van den Driess­che was banned for six years and ther­mal cam­eras have since been used at the Tour de France to try and weed out tech­no­log­i­cal fraud­sters, al­though none have been found among the pro­fes­sional ranks.

— AFP

LON­DON: Poland’s Jakub Kacz­marek (R) rid­ing for CCC Sprandi Polkow­ice dur­ing the “Pru­den­tial RideLon­don-Sur­rey Clas­sic 2017”, UCI World Tour cy­cle race in Lon­don on Sun­day.

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