The bike at the centre of the “motor doping” scandal is available to buy online with a motor fitted.
Wilier, however, stress that their Cross Disc Carbon is not supplied by the factory with a motor and has threatened legal action against the rider at the centre of the allegations, Femke Van den Driessche, who competed in the inaugural women’s U23 world cyclo-cross championship in Zolder last weekend.
“Everyone knows parts to fit concealed motors to a standard frame are readily available,” a spokesman for Wilier said in a statement.
“However, I also want to make it clear that the Wilier factory does not, and never has supplied bikes or frames fitted with a concealed motor, not ever. Any bikes fitted with such technology have been modified by third parties with no involvement from the Wilier factory.”
But Van den Driessche’s claim that she is the innocent victim of a logistical error might gain some credence from the fact that a Wilier bike with a retro-fitted Vivax motor is available to buy from a Dutch online retailer.
The Wilier Cross Disc Carbon appears on the website Salden.nl, who list the bike, with “trapondersteuning” [pedal assistance], at €4990.
Motor manufacturer Vivax describes the device – a lithium-ion powered bevel gear secreted in the seat-tube – as one that can be fitted to any bike with a 31.6mm seat-tube.
Vivax say their motor is “invisible on the bicycle – except the on/off switch, which is unobtrusively located on the bar end.”
“Press the button and the motor delivers 200 watts to the crankshaft. Press the button again and the motor stops. Without motor power the bike functions as normal without any kind of resistance.”
E-bikes have gained popularity in several European markets, where they are typically promoted as vehicles for clean commuting. Early and low-end models feature bulky and visible batteries and motors. But as technology has improved, the appeal of the E-bike has broadened and several respected mountain bike manufacturers have added sophisticated machines to their offering.
Part of their appeal is the ability to ride with fitter and faster friends. The rider is still required to pedal and so gains some physical benefit.
Van den Driessche denies using a bike with a motor intentionally, claiming her mechanic gave her the wrong bike. She admits that she used to own the bike, but claims she sold it to a friend over a year ago.
The UCI’s investigation is ongoing, but Wilier warned of legal consequences for Van den Driessche and “anyone responsible for this very serious matter” if wrongdoing is proved.
“In the meantime, like everyone else, we await official clarification from the UCI on exactly what was found inside the bike,” the spokesman continued. “When the full facts are known, it will be clear to everyone that the respected name of Wilier Triestina had no involvement in this matter.”
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