Lithium Powered Cheats at The Tour De France

Professional cyclists are finding new means to cheat at the Tour De France

Cycling’s premier event, the Tour De France showcases some of the world’s finest athletes battle it out in a superhuman test of endurance. In recent years however the Tour has also been a showcase for cycling, and professional sport’s dark underbelly, cheating. Perhaps no professional athlete has fallen from such high esteem than cycling’s golden boy, Lance Armstrong, a name now synonymous with both greatness and the shame of being a proven performance enhancing substance user.  Armstrong is not alone, The Next Web reports that, from 1998 to 2012, nearly half of top 10 Tour finishers tested positive for performance enhancing substances.

Performance enhancing substances are not the only way to get ahead in professional cycling it seems. A 60 Minutes report aired on Sunday the 29th, 2017, investigated a new form of cheating unique to cycling, hiding electric motors inside bike frames, complete with secret activation buttons, to give unscrupulous athletes an unfair advantage.

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60 Minutes Correspondent Bill Whittaker inspects a bike which has a visually undetectable electric drive system seamlessly integrated into its frame. Source: 60 Minutes/CBS

60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whittaker interviewed Istvan Varjas, an engineer who says he invented the motor and drive system which he claims is being used by cyclists in the Tour De France.

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The motor which engineer Istvan Varjas claims to have invented and is being used by athletes to cheat on the Tour De France. Source: 60 Minutes/CBS
Varjas is also already at work developing an electromagnetic wheel-based drive system which will provide the next generation of ‘mechanical doping.’
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A demonstration of the next generation of ‘mechanical doping’ being developed by Varjas, electromagnetic drive located inside the wheel of the bike. Source: 60 Minutes/CBS

The 60 Minutes report comes after Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and France’s Télévisions Stade 2 news station used thermal imaging cameras last April to allegedly catch as many as seven competitors using hidden motors at Strade Bianche and Coppi e Bartali road races in Italy.

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Thermal imaging cameras captures a suspicious heat signature from a suspected frame embedded electronic motor used by a professional cyclist. Source: Televisions Stade 2

Jean-Pierre Verdy, former testing director for the French Anti-Doping Agency who has dedicated his professional career to investigating doping at the Tour De France divulged to 60 Minutes that his sources claim that around one dozen cyclists used hidden motors in the 2015 Tour de France, an alarming trend in an otherwise great competition and sport.

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