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53-year-old masters cyclist caught using hidden motor

Amateur racer in Italy was discovered using an electric motor by officials with thermal cameras according to Italian media

A masters cyclist has been caught using an electric motor in his bike at an amateur race in the north of Italy according to Italian media.

A 53-year-old Italian cyclist was caught on Saturday with a motor in his bike at a race in Bedizzole, near Brescia. The organizers detected the motor using a thermal camera during the event according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The amateur sports body Centro Sportivo Italiano, who are affiliated with the Italian Olympic Committee, were responsible for organizing the event. Vice-president of the CSI in the province of Brescia, Emiliano Scalfi said the body was acting on a tip-off.

“We had some precise information and we proceeded accordingly,” Scalfi told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “When we looked, we saw that in the seat tube of one rider it looked as though there was a fire,” he said explaining how the thermal camera helped detect the hidden electric motor.

According to Tuttobici, cyclist Alessandro Andreol finished third in the race and was asked to bring his bike the commissaires for further inspection after the race. Dissembling Andreol’s Argon 18 was unnecessary as he admitted his guilt and left the race. The first five finishers all had their bikes checked.

RELATED: UCI official accused of warning others of police investigations into hidden motors

“We invited the rider to go with two commissaires to an authorised centre to check the bike, but at that point, he admitted his guilt,” Scalfi explained. “Inside the bike, he had a motor.”

This is the second confirmed case of technological fraud using a hidden motor in cycling. At the 2016 cyclocross world championships, Belgian under-23 cyclist Femke Van den Driessche  was caught using a bike that contained a motor. She was banned six-years by the UCI and fined 20,000 Swiss Francs.

To try and detect technological fraud, the UCI currently deploy officials who scan bikes with a tablet app. At the past two Tour de France, officials with thermal cameras have also scanned the peloton but no motors have been detected.

While only two riders have now been caught using hidden motors, a Stade 2 investigation last year suggested the technology has been used at the top levels of the sport. The technology is so advanced that powerful motors are capable of being hidden in the rear wheels of bikes. As of yet, no high profile riders have been found guilty of cheating in this way. The motor discovered on Saturday, like the one discover in Van den Driessche’s bike, was hidden in the seat tube.