Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday Video - Hidden Motor Demonstration with Greg LeMond

Femke Van den Driessche prior to being busted for mechanical doping
Allegations of "mechanical doping," or the use of hidden electric motors in professional cycling have been around since 2010. It wasn't until 2016 that there was a confirmed case of this type of cheating. Femke Van den Driessche was competing in the women's under 23 competition at the Cyclocross World Championship when officials noticed wires coming out of her bike. For this she earned a six year ban from professional cycling.

In this short (under a minute) video, three time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond shows a bicycle with a hidden motor. I had always wondered if these motors were powerful enough to actually make much difference. As you will see, the motor makes the rear wheel spin at a pretty good clip. LeMond says it can deliver 250 watts for a half hour. That's pretty significant. While Mark Cavendish might generate over 1500 watts in a sprint, a typical pro cyclist will max out around 400 watts over a one hour time period.

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