By Agence France Presse
Saxo Bank’s Fabian Cancellara on Tuesday dismissed claims that he used a motorized bike when winning this season’s Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix classics.
“It’s so stupid I’m speechless,” he told the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. “I’ve never had batteries on my bike.”
A video featuring former professional cyclist Davide Cassani seemingly showed a bike operating with what he claimed was a motor in the seattube, with a button to operate the device hidden on the handlebars.
In Cassani’s video there is footage of Cancellara and what it claims are suspicious slips of his right hand on the bike handlebars before he acclerates away from his rivals. Cassani, who won two stages of the Giro d’Italia in the 1990s, is now a television commentator.
“It’s quite funny but it’s become a bigger story and is no longer so funny,” said Cancellara. “It’s a sad and really outrageous story. Believe me, my feats are the result of hard work.”
The UCI confirmed that there was no case against the Swiss rider. And the UCI’s technical chief, Jean Wauthier, told the Belgian daily newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that it was unlikely Cancellara would use any kind of motor.
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“The risk is simply too big. For him, his team and the bike manufacturers. A champion like Cancellara would not take that risk.”
Wauthier conceded that even if the UCI wanted to, there was no way of checking whether Cancellara had cheated by using a motorized bike.
“If there’s been some kind of fraud, there’s no way of proving it,” Wauthier said.
He added: “Certainly we’re going to have to speed up our research so we can scan all competition bikes in a quick and efficient way. Up till now, such controls simply haven’t been used.”