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Caught Mechanic Doper Made into an Exemplary Case

By Frantiska Blazkova

Both pro and amateur race organizers and cycling clubs have been cracking down on cases of mechanical doping. We’ve already informed you about one particular case that happened at the third-category and junior race at Saint-Michel-de-Double in south-west France on 1st October. As we know, the convicted conman was publicly revealed to be Cyril Fontayne, a 43-year-old plasterer, who is a member of SA Mussidan – the club that was organising the event. Fontayne then issued a few following statements.

Public prosecutor Jean-François Mailhes disclosed at a press conference that Fontayne’s main argument for using a mechanical boost was to have an equal chance at winning as a number other riders who, according to him, were also using “various methods of doping”. Fontayne then failed to accuse any other contestants directly or specify which methods he had in mind. L’Équipe, a French sports magazine, reported that he had used his tweaked bike on five occasions since 21st August and managed to collect 500 EUR in prize money with its help. According to Fontayne’s confession, the frame has been bought at a Chinese website and the motor was produced by Vivax Assist – a French manufacturer – both amounting to roughly 3000 EUR.

While giving an interview about the matter to radio station France Bleu Périgord, Fontayne said that he used hidden motor as a way to relaunch his racing career after a spinal injury. “I tried to get back into racing but I struggled because of sciatica. I did it so that I wouldn’t struggle so much towards the end of races,” commented Fontayne by rather an alibistic excuse. Fontayne added: “I didn’t want to be the champion of Dordogne or win a lot of races. I just did it to feel good again.”

He tried to downplay the seriousness of his offence multiple times, claiming that he wasn’t using drugs or hurting children, which certainly isn’t going to help him with alleviating the sanctions and attempted fraud/fraud charges he’s facing.

Christophe Bassons (1999 Tour)

As we reported, Fontayne’s gig was uncovered by a former-pro-turned-anti-doping-representative Christophe Bassons who received a tip-off from within the local racing scene. The motor was apparently a very common model albeit a sleek one. “I watched him cover 25 laps and, with the naked eye, you couldn’t see anything during the race,” Bassons told L’Équipe. He was then brought in for questioning and his bike for examination and the rest is history.

Fontayne continues to claim that he’s being made into deterrent example although his exposure isn’t benefiting the cycling scene at all as many others are doing the same.