Tadej Pogacar responds to motor-doping insinuations
” I don’t know. We don’t hear any interference ,” said Tadej Pogacar, garmented in yellow-bellied and apparently a little in skepticism at what he was being asked.” We don’t use anything illegal. It’s all Campagnolo substances, Bora .”
And then,” I don’t know what to say .”
The Tour de France‘s most dominant rider was responding to anonymous insinuations of technological hoax that had been issued in the Swiss daily Le Temps, based on the testimony of three equestrians from within the race.
There had been, the riders alleged,” strange interferences” received from the bikes of four teams- Team UAE-Emirates, Deceuninck-QuickStep, Jumbo-Visma and Bahrain Victorious.
“It’s coming from the rear wheels, ” one of the riders alleged to Le Temps. “A strange metallic noise, like an incorrectly adjusted chain. I’ve never heard it anywhere .”
Le Temps’ writer Pierre Carrey proceeds further in spelling it out, describing it as an “alleged new generation engine”.
“We are no longer talking about a engine in the crankset or an electromagnet structure in the rims of the wheels, but a device hidden in the hub, ” another of Carrey’s informants elaborates. “We are also talking about a recuperator of the wheels. Energy via the brakes. Inertia is stored as in Formula 1. ”
The lack of any supporting evidence, and the obscurity of the resources, raises some somewhat big questions about the credibility of the report.
Nonetheless, here we are, with the maillot jaune being immediately requested in a post-stage press conference if he’s doing anything illegal with his motorcycle. That stage had ended with a win from a equestrian from the embattled Bahrain Victorious squad, making a zipping motion across his mouth as a succes praise.
A climate of suspicion has descended on the race like a low-hanging fog, with the speculative Le Temps report only increasing the sense of intrigue.
A record of misbehaviour
This year’s Tour de France– like most publications of the race in modern record- is stalked by the presumption of wrongdoing.
That’s how it has been since at least the Festina Affair in 1998, which exposed widespread doping within the peloton, and was reinforced by Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace over a decade later. But while cycling is almost certainly cleaner than it’s ever been, the questions linger. It’s like a tattoo on the sport’s metaphorical skin- slowly fading, perhaps, but difficult and costly to remove.
This year’s dominant performance by Tadej Pogacar has raised some peripheral questions from armchair commentators, while a high-profile investigation of Bahrain Victorious was initiated in Pau got a couple of weeks ago has further increased distrust.
The report from Le Temps has been thrown into this flurry, motivating Pogacar’s denial yesterday.
The young Slovenian seemed a little baffled by the question, maybe a little bothered, and then moved onto the next one. Asked about his arrangements for the Olympics, he dryly confirmed he’d be tripping to Tokyo on Monday by airplane- “I checked Google maps and you cannot go by car. It doesn’t find the route, so we’ll go in the plane, yes … ”- and that was about it.
Hidden motors and hidden reasons
Motor doping has been the monster for the purposes of the bunked of professional cycling for a number of years, commonly quoted as a panic of organisers and the UCI but seldom substantiated with any actual evidence despite a huge increase in testing. There has been merely one cyclist detected and sanctioned by the UCI for a obscured motor, for an incident stretching back to 2016 involving Belgian U23 cyclocross rider Femke Van lair Driessche.
In the aftermath of this, David Lappartient’s 2017 presidential campaign was run on a platform of eradication of the obscure scourge of technological scam.
At the 2016 Tour de France, these tablets started making an appearance.
In the years since, having disclosed no examples of “motor doping”, Lappartient’s UCI has pivoted toward more nebulously to defend the’ soundnes’ of the athletic, although many of the innovations brought in to catch technological fraudsters are still in use.
As of stage 15 of this year’s Tour de France, according to the UCI, 720 bike exams had been conducted at the race. “6 06 were conducted on bikes before the start of each stage use magnetic scan tablets. Meanwhile X-ray technology was used to test another 114 bikes at the end of each stage, ” the UCI said in a press release.
“The UCI underlines that the post-stage testing pool always including the bike ridden by the winner of that day’s stage as well as the leader of the general classification. The remainder of the post-stage testing pool is decided on a two-pronged approach: motorcycles selected by the UCI based on its information and intelligence, and bikes ridden by contestants been chosen to targeted anti-doping self-controls by the International Testing Agency( ITA ), the independent figure in charge of the UCI’s anti-doping activities.”
In addition to the magnetic tablets- which have been in use since 2016- and the mobile X-ray technology – first was used in 2018- the UCI also highlighted the introduction of a compact, light, hand-held device apply backscatter engineering that will be introduced at the Tokyo Olympics.
” The UCI takes the fight against technological fraud very seriously, which is why we continue to innovate to further enhance the effectiveness of our testing ,” said Michael Rogers( yes, that Michael Rogers ), the UCI’s recently-appointed Innovation Manager.
Is it plausible?
Stranger things have happened, but it seems somewhat far-fetched. As outlined by the UCI, there’s extensive testing taking place. And based on the testing protocols have outlined, it’s unlikely that the identified squads are going to fly under the radar. After all, they’ve been prolific winners- shall further seek to ensure that their bikes are going to be X-rayed on a regular basis.
At the very least, it is guaranteed that the UCI testing has brought them into direct linked with the motorcycles of Tadej Pogacar, Julian Alaphilippe, Mark Cavendish, Wout Van Aert, Sepp Kuss, Matej Mohoric and Dylan Teuns- all stage wins on the teams that were specifically highlighted by Le Temps’ anonymous informants. Pogacar’s bikes ought to have tested at least 15 days.
Tadej Pogacar has been in yellowish since stage 5, and seems set to hold on until Paris.
There’s no common thread allowing a conspiracy to take place on a sponsor front, either- four wheel brands are represented across the teams quoth.
Deceuninck-QuickStep, the team of light-green jersey-wearer Mark Cavendish and world-wide champion Julian Alaphilippe, journeys Roval wheels. Jumbo-Visma, the team of Wout Van Aert, Sepp Kuss, and Jonas Vingegaard, is sponsored by Shimano but also going Vision. UAE-Team Emirates is riding Campagnolo. Team Bahrain Victorious, which conducts the team classification and has won three stages, rides Vision wheels.
Motor-doping on this kind of team scale would require the silence and complicity of hundreds of individuals across multiple competitor squads and technological collaborators.
The UCI is not an organisation that has always behaved with the greatest integrity, but in this specific case it appears that there’s unlikely to be a cover-up from on high. After spending millions fighting a apparition combat against technological hoax, it would be politically expedient for the UCI to catch the fraudsters. They haven’t.
So: Tadej Pogacar is almost certainly not a beneficiary of technological scam. A reporter has received three equestrians in the peloton who either don’t believe what they’re discover or want to seed some chaos. There are at present a whispering campaign implicating four of the leading teams of this year’s Tour, which seems unlikely to have a basis in reality.
And yet, here “we ii”.
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