Wiggins: Motorized doping has likely happened before

The British rider says the UCI checked his bike for a hidden motor after he broke the hour record last summer.

DUBAI (VN) — Bradley Wiggins doesn’t understand the mindset of an athlete who would cheat with a motorized bike, but he does think it’s happened in the past and says he agrees that motorized doping should result in a lifetime ban.

“It’s been around for a while, hasn’t it,” he said to assembled press at the Dubai Tour on Tuesday. “For five years now they’ve had this suspicion, they’ve been checking the bikes. I think this is the first one they’ve found. I’m sure it’s happened in the past but they haven’t found them.”

There is a distinction between motorized cheating and doping, not the least because they are treated quite differently by the UCI itself. But is one worse than the other?

“I wouldn’t say it’s worse,” Wiggins said. “They’re both as bad as each other, but I have to question someone’s… I can understand why someone would choose to dope, with what’s to be gained from it, financially and things. But to stick a motor in your bike, I don’t understand really the logic behind that, of actually winning a race because you’ve got an extra 200-odd watts in your back pocket. It’s the same thing as blood doping or whatever doping, but I can’t see the logic in it, or why you would do that.”

The Tour de France winner and current hour record holder explained that his own bike was disassembled and inspected by the UCI after his hour record attempt.

“They did it after the hour record, they took my bike to pieces. I think they didn’t give up with it, which is a good thing,” he said.

A call for lifetime bans for motorized cheating came from Eddy Merckx over the weekend after a bike allegedly used by his countrywoman Femke Van den Driessche at the cyclocross world championships was found to have a motor inside it. Wiggins echoed that call, and further questioned the mindset of an athlete who would cheat in such a way.

“I would probably agree with that,” he said, referring to Merckx’ lifetime ban proposal. “But you have to ask questions of the athlete. It’s one thing choosing to blood dope or whatever, and another thing to put a motor in your bike. You gotta ask a lot of questions of the athlete.”