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Former pro Phil Gaimon accuses Fabian Cancellara of motor doping in new book

Joe Robinson
9 Nov 2017

Retired rider raises accusations in his new book, and reiterated them in interview

In his new autobiography Draft Animals, former pro Phil Gaimon has accused Fabian Cancellara of motor doping during his career. Discussing Cancellara, Gaimon comments on how former teammates of the Swiss rider spoke of suspicious events that surrounded the handling of his bike and performances in his career, concluding that motor doping had most likely been present.

'I dismissed it until I heard his former teammates talk about certain events where Cancellara had his own mechanic, his bike was kept separate from everyone else's, and he rode away from a "who's who" of dopers,' Gaimon writes in his book.

He continues, 'When you watch the footage, his accelerations don't look natural at all, like he's having trouble staying on the top of the pedals. That fucker probably did have a motor,' the book extract reads.

Cyclist contacted Gaimon for a statement on his accusations surrounding the alleged actions of Cancellara and the American reaffirmed the comments in his book and spoke of his frustration surrounding the issue.

'I've heard it [motor doping] talked about and I'm not going to name names but in pro cycling, everyone's like, yeah, Fabian Cancellara probably had a motor for a bit,' he told us.

'It's frustrating to me that people seem to have forgotten that in the latter part of his career.'

Gaimon also went on to repeat his accusations regarding Cancellara's winning performance at the 2008 Milan-San Remo.

'He was having trouble keeping on top of his pedals, he was going so fast and some of the guys chasing him were like the dirtiest guys that we know now and it's like, hang on!'

Despite numerous allegations, Cancellara has never faced investigation for a concealed motor in his bike nor has any evidence been presented to show the rider used mechanical doping during his career.

The multiple Paris-Roubaix winner has also previously strenuously denied allegations regarding motor doping, stating that accusations were 'so stupid I am speechless'.

When contacted by Cyclist to comment on the allegations made by Gaimon, Cancellara's PA said that due to a busy schedule he would be unable to comment.

Gaimon is also of the opinion that this was an isolated issue, and stated that current concerns over motor doping in the peloton have been exaggerated.

'Motors are not a thing, they never were a thing, but my feeling and the prevailing feeling was that it was him [Cancellara] for a couple of races, then when it became half a scandal it was over,' Gaimon told us, before adding, 'Put a gun to my head and I would say that's what happened.'

The debate surrounding the illegal use of motors in cycle racing has been placed back under the spotlight in recent months by new UCI President David Lappartient.

As a result of Gaimon's allegations, the UCI told Cyclist that it was 'not ruling out the possibility of investigating, especially if new information was made available.'

Lappartient had already pledged to introduce more stringent tests to detect potential motor doping, which immediately faced criticism.

EF-Drapac team manager Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclist last week that motor doping in the current peloton is a red herring, and Gaimon reiterated this opinion.

Gaimon used the example of Ryder Hesjdal - Hesjdal was accused of motor doping at the 2014 Vuelta a Espana - to claim that motor doping is not widespread in the peloton.

'It's clickbait. In the WorldTour you have five bikes so the number of people to be in on that scandal would be ludicrous,' Gaimon laughed.

'Take the mechanics who are day-rate Belgian guys on $100-a-day. Those guys ain't covering up a million dollar conspiracy.'

'We are also so close in ability that if you had the extra 40 watts of a motor, even I could win the Tour. Take Ryder Hesjdal, when people accused him, he wasn't winning races and dominating.

'If Ryder had a motor, he would have been dominant like guess who, Cancellara.'

Lead Image: Phil Gaimon Twitter

This article was updated after comment was received from the UCI

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