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Former actor knocks over race director after being suspected of mechanical doping

Giovambattista Iera allegedly had a motor in his bike at the Routes de l'Oise, an amateur race in France

Giovambattista Iera: ‘I did not run away or strike the race organizer’ Photo by: Routes de L'oise Instagram

On Monday, during the Routes de l’Oise amateur race, drama unfolded before the final stage from Crèvecœur-le-Grand to Grandvilliers. Organizers conducted a technical inspection of a bike, targeting Giovambattista Iera, a former actor noted for cycling movies. He played Fabrice Bouillon (as Jean-Baptiste Iera) in the film, Le vélo de Ghislain Lambert.  At the French race, he was riding for amateur club, AC Bellaingeoise.

In fact, the events of Monday resembled something out of a movie.

“We had suspicions about potential cheating,” Frédéric Lenormand, president of the Routes de l’Oise and race director, said. “On Saturday, in the stage between Beauvais and Maignelay-Montigny, he caught up with a breakaway in an abnormally fast period of time. On Sunday, several people mentioned an abnormal noise when he was riding.”

Ran into race director with his car

As they prepared to inspect his bike, the accused rider fled to his truck. “I wanted to hold him back, but he ran away,” Lenormand said. “He ran into me with his car and I drove a hundred meters on his hood. It couldn’t have been more dramatic.”

According to an article in Le Parisien, Yannick Matura, an elected official from Beauvais and a former amateur cyclist, described quite the scene. “The most serious thing about this story is that a volunteer race director ended up on the hood of a car,” he said. “They say that money rots everything, but this is just a matter of personal glory.”

Tarnishes long history of race

He said that the incident tarnished the efforts of the volunteers. “That’s all we’re going to talk about,” he added. “It’s always a shame to see the work of a small association called into question.”

A deep dive into the history of motor doping in cycling

The AC Bellaingeoise team was excluded from the race and did not participate in the last stage.

Why cheat?

“It’s inconceivable to me,” Lenormand said. “Why cheat? There is no money. The winner wins a jersey, a trophy, a bouquet of flowers and…a steak.”

After the incident, his team was quick to distance themselves. Team manager Daphnée Boss said that it was a betrayal to the squad.

“Even if the Routes de l’Oise is an important cycling event, we did not think that he would adopt this intolerable behaviour for an amateur race,” she said. “As far as how the rest of the team is, they are in a terrible state.”