When the saddle of the tube was removed, there were electrical cables protruding from the tube. When they wanted to remove the crankshaft, something that is normally easy, it was not possible because the crankshaft was stuck. The motor was in there.
Fine up to 200k Swiss Francs
The UCI’s head of off-road racing, Peter van den Abeele, said that they had been testing a new detection system, not because they had any particular indication that fraud was going on, but because this seemed a good opportunity. UCI regulation lays out the sanctions for those proven to have committed technological fraud. Riders found guilty will be suspended for a minimum of six months and handed a fine of between 20,000 and 200,000 Swiss francs.
First Rumours in 2010
Rumours of “mechanical doping” first appeared in 2010, when the Classic and time-trial specialist Fabian Cancellara was forced to defend himself against apparently unfounded allegations that he had mechanical help. At the time, experts estimated that the use of a small electric motor hidden in the bottom bracket could save between 60 and 100 watts as the rider pedalled, a considerable boost to performance.
Not long afterwards the UCI began examining machines on a random basis, using a scanner and later a small camera. There have been searches to ensure there are no concealed electric motors – but until now, nothing was found.
There are videos on YouTube that purport to show images of mechanical doping, and they show that the matter goes back some time actually. This clip, for instance, shows Canadian Ryder Hesjedal’s bike after he crashed during the 2014 Tour of Spain. His rear wheel appeared to keep spinning after the crash, so much so that it whipped the bike around on the ground after he himself came to a stop:
At the 2015 Giro d’Italia, the most important stage race after Tour de France, an official was shown on video checking eventual race winner Alberto Contador’s bike:
How May It Work?
The video below — which has over 3.8 million views on YouTube — claims to show “how mechanic doping may be done,” with images of Swiss pro Fabian Cancellara that “may be considered as incontrovertible evidences.” It’s important to note that Cancellara and his team denied all of this long ago, and they were never penalized or fined.
At the last Tour de France, half a dozen machines including that of Chris Froome were examined after the finish of stage 18 through the Alps.