Having been dogged by doping scandals for year after year, cycling appeared to hit a new low recently when an electric motor was discovered in a competitor’s bike at the Cyclo-Cross World Championships.
It seems that wherever there is glory (and money), people will be willing to do anything for the win.
With more and more anti-doping tests and the introduction of scans to detect hidden motors in professional cyclists’ bikes, the cheats are going to have to come up with something new.
We put it to Cycling Weekly readers to come up with their predictions on what unscrupulous racers will do next, and here are a selection of the answers.
Got something to add? Let us know in the comment box below.
Well, it’s already rumoured to be electromagnetic wheels. What about sails that can pop out at the appropriate moment? Or trained leprechauns to run on a mini treadmill inside the chainstays?
They’ll go old school, and start using trains like 1904 again.
Flatulence drugs. In a breakaway or on a climb, you let rip with a fart SO REVOLTING and toxic, it incapacitates all behind you, and you go on to win the stage. Most effective if you are at the FRONT of the lead group…
Industrial espionage. Install a rider in each of your rival’s teams so that you get the inside track into their training and race tactics. Then use your ‘mole’ to sabotage races by falling off in front of their team-mates, making fake crackling noises over team radio when the sports director is giving important instructions and putting Epsom salts into the team’s recovery drink.
Automatic collision-avoidance system and automatic steering.
Mind control or hypnosis of rival team riders.
Removal of all unnecessary body parts to improve the power-to-weight ratio. Get rid of that spare kidney, spleen and possibly part of the brain. Teams could sell them on the web to the highest international bidder to recoup costs.
Genetic manipulation… it’s probably already started. Pinch the DNA from top-performing athletes, and grow a super-cyclist embryo in a lab. Nurture this pedaling machine from birth to late teens in a secret hideaway with no internet access (less they get curious about their odd existence). Then unleash it on an unsuspecting world at the Eneco Tour.
Helium in the tubes.
Create a hyper-realistic android and install it as team leader for Grand Tours. You would only have to program it with three pre-set phrases to pass post-race interviews with flying colours. “I’ve got to thank the whole team”, “We gave it 110 per cent”, and “That’s bike racing”. No one will ever tell the difference.
Watch: Rotor Uno groupset, first look
Attaching two very fine nylon strands to the handlebars of a bike, and attach the other ends to a drone, flying high above the peloton. Then use the drone to pull along the rider. All you have to hope is that you don’t have to ride through a tunnel or under high-voltage electricity cables.
Clones of top riders so they can replace tired legs half way through and replenish power.
As in Formula One, the motors will be controlled by pit staff.