(You're riding with Alberto Contador and you don't even bother taking both headphones out?)
Another way to look at it though iss that pro cycling is entering into sort of a golden age in terms of entertaining scandal, because this motödoping stuff just keeps getting better and better:
Yes, as others have speculated, it turns out the UCI may be involved in protecting ProTour "e-tards" from mechanical doping checks:
France Television programme Stade 2 has alleged that the UCI worked to disrupt a police investigation into mechanical doping during last year’s Tour de France. According to the programme, which was broadcast on Sunday, police spoke with the UCI last July to discuss reports that a ‘Hungarian’ had been trying to sell motors during the 2015 Tour.
Ah yes, it's always a Hungarian. Last time it was Istvan Varjas, this time it's Stefano Varjas:
The Hungarian in question is believed to be engineer Stefano Varjas, who was working for Typhoon bicycles at the time. The e-bike manufacturer has been working with the UCI on their motor detection at races. The programme showed screengrabs of emails between Mark Barfield, the UCI’s technical manager, and Harry Gibbings, the CEO of Typhoon bicycles, in July of last year. Stade 2 claims that Barfield’s email was a tip-off about the investigation, which allowed Varjas to leave the Tour before being questioned by the police.
I have no idea if there's any relation between Istvan Varjas and Stefano Varjas, and to be honest I don't feel like doing the nine seconds of search engine jockeying it would take to find out, but I do think it's delightfully ironic that the UCI is employing an e-bike manufacturer to help them detect motors at races.
Generally speaking, receiving detection assistance from people with a vested interest in their technology remaining undetected isn't very sound from a security standpoint or an ethics standpoint. I mean, that's almost as crazy as taking money from a top rider in order to buy a blood-testing machine...which of course also happened, so none of this should be even remotely surprising.
Anyway, the correspondence in question is highly suspicious, but of course the e-bike maker puts it down to an innocent case of the UCI mixing up all these Hungarians:
“As partners, they knew that we had a Hungarian involved with us, and I suspect that they wanted to check me out and say: ‘Hang on, you’re partners with us, and now we hear about this Hungarian guy, is he your guy?’ There was nothing confidential. They were just asking ‘Is this your guy selling these? You told us you wouldn’t sell motors to riders, and now we hear that there is a Hungarian guy going around trying to sell motors to teams.’ All I could do was ask him, and he said no so I went back to them and told them that he had said no.”
Oh, well, that checks out. Here's this Hungarian sidling up to Tour riders and whispering, "Pssst! Vanna buy a motor?" So the UCI deals with it thusly:
UCI: "Is Stefano Varjas selling motors at the Tour?"
TYPHOON BIKES: "No, that's probably his identical twin, Istvan Varjas."
UCI: "Well OK then!"
However, it would appear Stefano Varjas was less than honest regarding his whereabouts during the Tour de France:
Gibbings told Cyclingnews that there was no follow up from the French police but that he had questioned Varjas on several occasions regarding the matter and that Varjas flatly denied being at the Tour de France. However, when he submitted receipts for expense purposes several months later, they proved that he was in fact in France, though he still denied being at the race.
“When he submitted his receipts to the company, we saw that he had been in France. So I contacted him again, but he said ‘I was in France, but he wasn’t at the Tour de France,’” said Gibbings. “He kept on denying it, and I couldn’t prove it.”
Right. I'm sure he went to France in July without going to the Tour de France. Presumably he also submitted a bunch of receipts from strip clubs for reimbursement and then claimed he only went there for the buffet.
Speaking of motors, meet the latest in an endless procession of e-assisted, smartphone-enabled crabon smart bikes. It's called the Infinity, probably because that's how long inventors will be subjecting us to these things:
However, there are two features that make the Infinity unique. Firstly, it employs new cutting-edge air-cushioned tire technology:
This is huge, and I can't imagine why nobody has thought of this before.
Secondly, apparently the motor only kicks in when your heart rate reaches a certain point:
Infinity e-Bike is fully controlled via smartphone app. It permits to choose the riding mode, to switch on the motor and to monitor a number of the most important parameters, including the actual speed, heart rate, battery status, burned calories, watt consumption, inclination etc.
Which they explain like this:
(I have no idea what any of this is supposed to mean.)
Though in practice it means that when the average Fred spots an attractive pedestrian the motor will suddenly engage and send him into the nearest brick wall.
This could explain why the inventors look like they own and operate a sperm bank:
Finally, in a weekend dominated by awful news, this was a welcome ray of sunshine:
An attempted bicycle theft in a Walmart parking lot was foiled by a cattle rancher on horseback, who chased the thief down and lassoed him until the local police in southern Oregon could arrive.
We've seen any number of smart locks and bike-tracking systems on Kickstarter, but even in 2016 it would appear there's no more effective theft-prevention system than a good ol'-fashioned cowboy:
The bicycle was stolen from a bike rack outside a Walmart in Eagle Point, a town about 170 miles south of Eugene, Oregon, at around 10amon Friday morning. The woman who owned the bike and several others gave chase on foot but were unable to catch him.
Then a rancher named Robert Borba brought his horse out of its trailer, mounted up and chased the thief down, according to Chris Adams, an officer with the Eagle Point police who responded to the 911 call about the theft.
He even speaks just like you hoped he would:
I seen this fella trying to get up to speed on a bicycle,” Borba told the Medford Mail-Tribune. “I wasn’t going to catch him on foot. I just don’t run very fast.” He added: “I use a rope every day, that’s how I make my living. If it catches cattle pretty good, it catches a bandit pretty good.”
Sadly this will never happen in New York, since so few people have employment skills that transfer to bike-thief wrangling. Instead, everybody makes a living in finance, which means the nearest equivalent would be a banker foiling a thief by throwing a bundle of cash at him. But instead they just indiscriminately hit cyclists with their luxury SUVs, which I suppose underscores the fundamental difference between the Big City and Anytown, USA. (Well, that and all the anti-government militants.)
And with that, Borba bought a shitload of diet soda at Walmart--America's general store--and rode off into the sunset:
"Happy trails to you..."