60 Minutes Investigation of Mechanical Doping

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I watched the 60 Minutes segment on mechanical doping on Sunday and was a bit disappointed.  All they did was tell us something that we already knew.  We already knew that they existed.  Saying that they possibly have been used in the Pro peloton seems silly.

The biggest change, I guess, was a guy from the French doping authority said that 12 riders used the devices in the 2015 Tour de France.  I’m not sure how he came up with that exact number.  And if it is correct, then I am really not sure what we don’t have at least one name of someone that did it.

CBS said that the UCI wouldn’t allow French investigators access to bikes during the Tour to test for the motors.  I find that worrisome.  I’m have no idea why that would be?  Must be something to do with legality.

Then the show said that the motors weigh 800 grams and that the only team that had bikes that weighed that extra 800 grams was Team Sky.  Implying that Team Sky’s bikes, mainly their TTT bikes, had the motors.  I think that is sort of a stretch.

I say that, but don’t know the reason that their TTT bikes would be nearly 2 pounds heavier than UCI standards.  Seems like these bikes are so light that they are always adding weight to get up to the 6.8kg weight limit.

I was hoping for more.  Other than Michele Ferrari (Lance’s doping doctor) being named as a buyer of the bikes recently, nothing else of substance really came out of the segment.  You’d think there are lots of people with knowledge of this, if true.  Guess they staying quiet as of now.

Motor inventor and 60 Minutes reporter.

It goes in the seat tube.

32 thoughts on “60 Minutes Investigation of Mechanical Doping

  1. KrakatoaEastofJava

    The story was lame. Looks like it was edited and chopped into oblivion. No wonder it ran third-up. Their contention that the UCI refused to allow Sky’s wheels to be weighed separately from the bikes was an initial stab at juicy, but they just didn’t (or couldn’t) run with it. Precisely “whom” did the UCI say “no” to? Lemond and his wife standing around with this Hungarian guy at the 2015 Tour? They didn’t even give any details surrounding this supposed refusal. Did the UCI refuse an actual request to weight the wheels separately, or did CBS simply reveal that they had not done a separate weigh-job… and if so, did they weigh the wheels of the other teams?

    I wonder how much money this Hungarian dude siphoned out of their pockets!

  2. KrakatoaEastofJava

    I think Steve has more issues with how much the report sucked, rather than if (or if not) motors have been used. All we have to do is look back at Spartacus. I think anyone with half a brain knows that motors have been used.

  3. Michael koerschner

    I’m kind of surprised there seems to be this idea that some dude in Hungary had the corner on the market. Electric motors are EVERYWHERE in modern society. To hide one in a bike doesn’t seem like an engineering feat – AT ALL. The 60-minutes segment seemed to link to Armstrong’s string of victories via connect-the-dots and timeline. By them buying a Trek team issue OCLV that’s certainly what was implied.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Lance used a motor. He used everything else. People will comb the video footage to look for him pushing a button……

  4. The Cyclist

    That 6,8 kg limit is fuckin ridiculous. Especially when they cheat around it by adding weights and stuff like Ultegra cassettes and what not. This kind of limit should be on structural stuff like frames, forks, wheels, bars, cranks and stems instead. Not the whole bike ffs, like someone could ride a 2 kg bike with a 4,8 kg bottle cage and comply with regulations. Once again this makes UCI look like a bunch of morons imho.

  5. Manuel

    Maybe Lance didn’t use the motor, but maybe, just maybe, he’s the one who paid 2 million so no one else would use it. Who knows…

  6. Herm

    Horrible video quality, but what happens about one second in just before he takes off? His right hand starts to move and then there is a “glitch” in the video. Hmmm.

  7. Your Local Spanish Butcher

    Alberto forgot to pick up his filet that morning. Carbs are important but getting the right beef even more so.

  8. Ben Grubering

    Most interesting part – no buttons needed. Now triggered by HR monitor. This is huge because it only uses the limited power when it’s really needed. Batteries are still the weak link in this equation.

    But the idea of a large lithium cell in a water bottle that makes contact through the cage can get around that. Use the power going up the hills and the battery weight to help descend. Switch out bottles for next climb.

    Using the whole wheel as the motor is a pretty decent idea but the clearances would have to very tight to avoid efficiency losses.


  9. Charles Darwin

    The nerve of some of these cyclists… picking their parents like they were Taylor Phinney.

    How else are you going to beat that kid without doping, motors and weekly reviews with Dr. Ferrari ?

    A guy can only train so hard for so long without eventually succumbing to the cold hard reality…

    Pick better parents or pick better doping.

  10. Bolas Azules

    I was laughing when the Hungarian guy says he signed a $2 million exclusive deal with a rider years ago. I paused the T.V. and discussed it with Mrs. Azules and said, “it is interesting because that is a very similar deal Lance cut with Dr. Michele Ferrari at the same time period…and who else had that kind of money in the peloton???” And then seconds later they discuss it with Dr. Ferrari. Unreal.

    I think old Lance may have but he may also held it in waiting…we will never know.

  11. Erik Gruenwedel

    The “60 Minutes” segment wasn’t meant for you or any hardcore cyclist. It was meant for the average viewer who marginally knows there is something called the Tour de France.

  12. jpete

    What was the stage where Froome had Porte drop back for a bottle when it cost him a penalty. Awfully special bottle maybe? Bike changes, etc. Seems like there are plenty of times when battery changes might have been made.

  13. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Why would Hesjsdal engage the motor while going down a descent with curves? Think about it, when the motor is engaged, there is no coasting or freewheeling. When the motor is on, it’s ON. It doesn’t come with a clutch!

  14. Big Mig

    I wonder if Armstrong had $2 million in 98-99 to pay for this. Has anyone thought of that? He wasn’t really making the big bucks till after his first win.

  15. Charlie

    I’m not sure if Lance used a motor or not, but when he moved across to Escartin and company on Sestriere so quickly, it seemed pretty atypical of a normal bridge. Then he barely sat in at all and just kept accelerating, seated mainly (from memory), and dropped everyone easily–you could see their strain and the effortlessness of Armstrong. Then Armstrong just about dumped it on an uphill switchback because he was going so fast–never saw that before 1999, personally, and I’ve been watching the Tour since 1985. Like Cancellara at Flanders and P-R in 2010, it just looked off. I was actually there on the Muur in 2010 at the Tour of Flanders, spectating. When Cancellara and Boonen went past me, about 200 meters before the “attack,” they looked evenly matched. Who knows, though?

  16. Michael koerschner

    I agree that there’s no reason for motor on the descent: but it appears that the crash impact turned the motor on accidentally.

  17. KrakatoaEastofJava

    I remember watching that stage and thinking how unreal that looked. Yes, he pedaled that quickly, but indeed, it looked “off”. There is cadence, but no real “body power” in what’s moving him up the hill. At times, it looks as if he’s going TOO FAST around the curves.

    But why didn’t I think “motor” back when it happened? I think I just chalked it up to his being medically supercharged.

    I also think back to Armstrong’s crash back in 2003. That was an insane recovery. He didn’t even seem to really attack after rejoining… He just kept going, as if he was hanging onto an invisible car.

    I’m (unfortunately) convinced.

  18. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Michael koerschner, I crashed once and had the same thing happen to my rear wheel…and I actually believe in motors…but I don’t think that’s what we saw with Ryder H.

  19. Goner

    Yeah, in that one, the wheel is spinning weirdly, but the cranks aren’t. Not consistent with the motor theory.

  20. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Centrifugal force of the one free-spinning wheel caused Ryder’s whole bike to rotate around the pedal (which had contact with the ground). When the spinning tire later hit pavement, the bike lurched. In my situation, my own bike lurched and hit ME while I was laying on the ground. I saw the whole weird thing.

  21. KrakatoaEastofJava

    I doubt any of the pros would allow a motor to engage at any point in time other than when they themselves choose to activate it. I (for sure) wouldn’t want t kicking-in earlier than I wanted it to. Just because the capability exists to use radio signals to engage it, doesn’t mean people are using the capability.

  22. BT

    The solution to all of this is quit watching and caring about professional cycling. I will never understand why people will rant about the crooked stuff that all professional athletes are doing while still watching and supporting professional sports.


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