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Italian rider accused of motor doping at biggest gran fondo in Europe

In a video, Stefano Stagni pushes a button and accelerates

Stefano Stagni won the famous Gran Fondo, the Marathon of the Dolomites but has since been accused of motor doping. The 27-year-old ex-volleyball player, a relative newbie to the world of gran fondos, seems to have pushed a button which turned on a motor.

According to the instagram account Solowattagio, Stagni presses a button on top of his shifter several times as he accelerates away. Since he seems to have been using a mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace group, there would be no buttons as per a Di2 electronic group.

The Solowattagio account also posted that was on a different bike than usual. Stagni would later say that his current bike had a mechanical problem.

However, the drama didn’t stop there: right after Stagni finishes he swapped his bike for a different one.

Either way, Stagni went to bed, happy that he had won such a big race. But overnight he said that his social media exploded as many said he had cheated. His Strava account was flagged by 600 people saying he had cheated.

The rider in question, Stagni, denied any cheating in a post on Instagram.

“Forgive my silence these days, but before responding to the accusations received, I preferred to protect myself by confronting my attorney. I will try to fully answer all the doubts arising from the material posted by some Instagram pages and the questions presented to me on social media. The bicycle that I used normally has a problem with the frame so, in agreement with Gianluca, we mounted a bicycle ad hoc for the race (as already happened in all the other editions in which I participated. The bike was used by Gianluca to go to the provisioning on Campolongo Pass, then descend to Corvara for the awards ceremony. The second bicycle  was taken outside the barriers during the podium ceremony to avoid leaving it unattended (we’ve already had 3 stolen from us this year). Once outside I returned to the hotel with my first bicycle  as I took it home. Unfortunately, in the store there was no complete bike groupset having a power meter. So alas I do not have that data. However, I hope you can indulge in comparing the heat rate data of this race with others…if you are good at doing the proportions you can derive the approximate watts (67.4 kg the day before the race.)”

Here’s the video that is being shared as damning evidence of the alleged incident.