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Giovambattista Iera: ‘I did not run away or strike the race organizer’

Rider initially suspected of motor doping has spoken publicly since incident at Routes de l’Oise

Giovambattista Iera: ‘I did not run away or strike the race organizer’ Photo by: Giovambattista Iera/Instagram

Giovambattista Iera, the rider who made headlines for being suspected of motor doping and trying to flee a race has now spoken out, denying all allegations. In a press release distributed by his lawyer, Iera said that, “numerous articles in the press obligate me to correct the wrongful allegations.”

First reported in an article in Le Parisien, during a technical inspection, organizers scrutinized the bike of Iera, a former actor renowned for his roles in cycling films. Known as Jean-Baptiste Iera, he portrayed Fabrice Bouillon in the movie Le vélo de Ghislain Lambert. At the race he was competing for the amateur club AC Bellaingeoise.

The alleged incident at the Routes de l’Oise

The report went on to quote Yannick Matura, an elected official from Beauvais and a former amateur cyclist who claims to have witnessed the entire scene. “And the most serious thing about this story is that a volunteer race director ended up on the hood of a car,” he explained. “It is said that money rots everything, but this is just a matter of personal glory.”

Frédéric Lenormand, who is the president of the Routes de l’Oise and race director said that they already had suspicions about potential cheating. “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.”

Iera claims the reports are untrue

The 53-year-old cyclist has said all of this is untrue. “Two minutes before the start of the final stage, outside of all race protocols and rules, unknown individuals surrounded me, accused of “mechanical doping,” demanded to take my bike, and pulled at me to leave with them, creating a commotion,” he explained in the statement. “The race organizer (promoter) appeared with them, and I objected to their accusations, told them that I was third overall in the standings and would finish the stage, and then the race officials could inspect my bike. They refused to allow me to start the stage, continued with their aggression toward me in front of everyone, so I removed myself from the area to avoid further harassment. The unknown individuals followed me.”

“I did not run away or strike the race organizer”

He says that the report of him fleeing the scene is untrue.

“I did not run away or strike an organizer. On the contrary, I was quick to contact the Gendarmes to immediately resolve the false accusations. Since then, the police investigation has demonstrated my innocence and has cleared me of any involvement in any act of violence against the organizers. With regards to the alleged “mechanical doping,” all the bicycles have been inspected and scanned via x-ray by the investigators and technicians.”

Worked with investigators, no charges laid

Iera continued that he has responded to all the questions the investigators had in order to demonstrate my good faith. “I have given them all the technical information and equipment. And all my performances have been analyzed. Hence, I have to highlight the professionalism and objectivity the gendarmes of Beauvais have shown during the process,” he said. “The investigation has concluded that I have not committed any infractions, nor any cheating.  As a result of the investigation, no charges have been pressed against me. I have been freed and my good faith has been demonstrated.”

Organizer is sticking to story

Lenormand, however, is adamant that what he initially alleged, occurred.

“My brother saw me go onto the hood. I had the fear of my life,” he told Le Bonhomme Picard.”I thought I was going to go under the car. To tell you the truth, I am still a little bit upset and I have not yet returned to work when I usually go back the day after the end of the race.”

The cyclist however, has said that the statements given by witnesses at the race that originally appeared in French media are false and he feels he is now exonerated, but the damage has been done.

“My right to the presumption of innocence has been gravely violated: I had already been convicted by the press without any evidence while I was demonstrating to the police that the accusations against me were false,” Iera concluded.