Details continue to emerge in what is fast becoming an embarrassing story of mechanical doping. First it was the crazy suspicion that Fabian Cancellara had a hidden motor in his bike. The Swiss time trial star supposedly used the additional power source to win Paris Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.
Then Saxo Bank fired back with the accusation that Quick Step star Tom Boonen was in fact, a robot, a cycling cyborg.
Now, Italian investigative journalist Alberto Diggelini has disturbing photographic evidence of what he claims in a Quick Step mechanic riding a tandem with a crude Boonen prototype.
“I took this shot last year in Belgium. At the time I thought is was a joke until the Quick Step people became upset,” said Diggelini. “Then when I read about mechanical doping, I knew what I’d stumbled on something big,” said Diggelini.
The photo shows what appears to be a fully functional robot cyclist capable of pedaling a bike at speed. “You throw a skin over that and you have a monster,” said the journalist. “I have been to Disneyworld — they do it all the time and it looks as real as your hand. And I can tell you, the robot had Boonen’s pedaling style.”
Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere continues to deny any and all allegations. “It is madness, drunk journalists searching for a story. I cannot even respond to it. Cancellara with a hidden motor, that is possible. But Boonen a cyborg — preposterous,” said Lefevere.