Alessandro Andreoli, the 53 year-old Italian rider who was reportedly caught with a hidden motor in his bike, has denied any wrongdoing.

Andreoli said he recently started to do well in local age-related races after resolving a back problem. The Italian rider claimed his rivals may have tipped off race organizers as he had managed to beat them and because of his wealthy lifestyle. Andreoli refused to visit a specialist mechanic to have the bike dismantled after being caught and claimed he had to go to a wedding.

The hidden motor was detected after a thermal camera was used by the race organizers to scan suspicious bikes. The race was organized under the auspices of the Centro Sportivo Italiano, an amateur sports body affiliated to the Italian Olympic Committee. It was announced by Emiliano Scalfi, the vice-president of the CSI in the province of Brescia, that there was a tip-off and the CSI decided to deploy an expensive heat gun provided by a local businessman and cycling fan.

Scalfi remarked we had some precise information and we proceeded accordingly. The vice-president of the CSI said we saw when we looked that in the seat tube of one rider it looked as though there was a fire.

Andreoli finished third in the race and was asked to bring his bike to the commissaires for further inspection. The 53 year-old Italian rider refused to take the bike to a specialist and Andreoli refused and reportedly admitted to using mechanical doping. He later backtracked and said he would suspend himself from racing until formal investigation and eventual trial is held. Andreoli remarked they wanted to control my bike, the judges kept it for an hour and a half while he was getting changed and said they later claimed there was a hidden motor but they didn’t find anything and the wheels didn’t turn. Andreoli added if the reports of mechanical doping about his bike were true then riders who finished with him had motors too and also commented that he had seen a lot of people finish ahead of him without them suffering. The Italian rider also said he had to go to a wedding and it was getting late. Andreoli remarked he never admitted anything about mechanical doping.

A photo of the alleged bike was published by La Gazzetta dello Sport. The picture suggested a motor was hidden in the down tube, with a bulge under the right-hand brake lever covering the button that activated the motor. The bike has race number 891 and it was confirmed by Andreoli that race number 891 was his number for the event. Andreoli said he purchased the bike from someone in Tuscany while on holiday. Andreoli has reportedly won several races this season after rarely being in the results and went on to suggest that his rivals who tipped off the race organizers were simply envious.

The incident is the second confirmed instance of mechanical doping after Femke Van Den Driessche was discovered to have had a bike containing a motor at the 2016 Cyclo-cross World Championships. The rider was banned for a period of six years and fined 20,000 Swiss Francs by the UCI, the world governing body of cycling.

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