Yesterday Garmin-Sharp team rider Ryder Hesjedal took a tumble while racing the Vuelta a Espana. But it’s what his bike did after he came off that was so shocking. Have a watch…
The bike appears to move by itself as Hesjedal struggles to control it, leading many cycling publications, including the French sporting bible L’Equipe to question whether Hesjedal had a motor in his bike.
A motor would of course be cheating massively, and while it might sound ridiculous, accusations of racers riding motorised bikes have surfaced before. In 2010 Fabian Cancellara was accused of having a motor built into his bike when he won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
The Garmin team manager was quick to ridicule the accusations with this entertainingly uncensored tweet:
— Jonathan Vaughters (@Vaughters) September 4, 2014
Meanwhile an internet wag set up a twitter account purporting to be the voice of @RydersMotor and claiming: “I can neither confirm or deny I exist.”
Hesjedal obviously flatly denied it in this interview, calling the accusations ridiculous. Although we have to say as denials go, he’s not made it sound particularly convincing!
Apparently the technology exists that would enable a small motor to be fitted inside a road bike. But since the 2010 insinuations the UCI, cycling’s governing body, have regularly scanned bikes before races to check for them, and they haven’t ever found anything.