Here it is: cycling will once again make the ‘evening news’. This is not the massive achievement that it was when we actually had evening news, but it is still a golden day for cycling when it can make primetime without involving Lance or a huge crash.
We have the first case of a hidden motor being found in a competitor’s bike.
When rumours first surfaced in 2010 about secret motors in racing bikes we were conflicted. We were torn between disbelief and trying to find out where to order one. Disgusted that such a thing should even exist, but fantasising about dishing it out with an extra 250 watts on board.
Forget about the whole e-bikes on trails debate: nobody would know about your little helper except you and your conscience.
But we never really expected anybody to think they could get away with using an electric motor in a bike race.
But here it is. And the woman involved said what anybody would say when caught with an electric motor stuffed into their seat tube: it was not my bike. I grabbed my friend’s by mistake. I can’t tell the difference between my bike and somebody else’s. And neither can my mechanic.
The most interesting aspect of this situation is that word has surfaced that motors in seat tubes driving the cranks is old hat, and kind of primitive. The hot setup now is a hideously expensive electromagnetic drive system using the rear rim, and there is a six month waiting list to get one.
And we are not telling who is on the list.
The things that drive the development of secret power sources are the same things behind medical cheating. Pressure to perform, pressure to earn, pressure to get selected in the first place.
It is nice to go for a bike ride with the only pressure being whatever we are running in our tyres