Hidden magnets — the next big cheat in cycling?

It's not just about doping anymore. 60 Minutes reports on hidden motors in bikes — and how magnets are being used to reinvent the wheel

Cheating in the sport of cycling has reached a "mind-blowing" new level, says 60 Minutes' Bill Whitaker. There's evidence that some professional riders are using bikes rigged with small, secret motors during races, a practice known in Europe as "motor-doping."

Whitaker and a team of 60 Minutes producers went to Budapest to meet Istvan Varjas, the engineer who says he invented the tiny bike motor, which he says has been used surreptitiously in the Tour de France.

What's more, Varjas says he's already at work on the next big cheating technology for cyclists: an electromagnetic wheel.

Whitaker and 60 Minutes producers Oriana Zill and Michael Rey met the engineer in a bike shop in Budapest, where he showed the producers his inventions and allowed 60 Minutes cameras to film his souped up bikes in action.

"I didn't believe it before I saw it or heard it, but I'm totally convinced," says Whitaker. "You really cannot detect this thing, at least by sight or sound."

According to Varjas' design, a small battery-powered motor is hidden inside the frame of a bike and connected to the pedaling system with interlocking gears. When the motor is off, a rider can pedal the bike normally. When the motor is activated, it turns the crank, spinning the pedals for the rider.

Varjas says the motor can be activated in several different ways: The rider can activate a secret switch on the handlebars, a partner can activate the system by wireless remote, or a heart-rate monitor worn by the rider can be programmed to automatically activate the motor when the rider's heart rate rises to a certain level.

Varjas told 60 Minutes he thinks professional cyclists have used secret motors to cheat in pro races as early as 1998. Varjas says he didn't knowingly sell motors for the purpose of cheating. He told 60 Minutes he just makes the device — what customers do with it is "not my problem."

Now Varjas is developing the next generation in cheating technology using magnets to, literally, reinvent the wheel. He showed 60 Minutes a model of his latest invention, which appears to have small magnets hidden inside the rim of the rear wheel. Varjas says a battery and electromagnetic coils are also placed in the wheel. When the system is switched on, the electromagnetic coils create a magnetic field, which propels the magnets forward, spinning the wheel faster. Varjas says the system is silent, undetectable even to the rider.

Despite efforts to crack down on doping in cycling, the cheating story isn't over, says Whitaker. "It's like Whac-A-Mole," he says of the cheating problem. "You hit it down over here, it'll pop up over there."

The video above was produced by Will Croxton, Ann Silvio, and Lisa Orlando. It was edited by Will Croxton and Lisa Orlando with assistance from Sarah Shafer Prediger, Rebecca Chertok Gonsalves and Susan Bieber.

Documentary footage from "Moteurs, ca roule!" courtesy of of Stade 2 - France Télévisions - report Thierry Vildary.

Bicycle animations created by David Rosen/CBS News.

haha "Motor-Doping"
Originally posted by Young2Rice:
haha "Motor-Doping"

Wonder what a "Doped up" bike runs on the black market.

Pro Cycling Experiences Its First Confirmed Case of Mechanical Doping One rider at the Cyclocross World Championships is being accused of using a hidden motor to gain an advantage
The first-ever U23 women's race at the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships in Zolder, Belgium, made plenty of headlines this weekend—but not for the reasons cycling fans would like. While the event was a great step forward for equality in women's pro cycling, it also brought some scandal: UCI officials announced that they had confiscated a racer's bike in the first confirmed instance of mechanical doping.

Mechanical doping, for those unfamiliar, generally refers to hiding a small motor in a bike's frame or rear hub. Rumors of mechanical doping have bounced around for several years, and the UCI has previously acknowledged that it suspected some riders had cheated that way, but last weekend brought the first confirmed case.

The bike in question belonged to the race favorite, 19-year-old Femke Van den Driessche of Belgium. Prior to this race, officials had used bulky X-ray equipment to scan bikes, or physically disassembled the bottom bracket of bikes in question to examine them for motors. But at Zolder, the organization brought out a new device, a computer approximately the size of an iPad that can detect radio frequencies emitted by a motor. When the computer registered signs of a possible motor in Van den Driessche's bike, officials reportedly removed the seatpost to find wires sticking out.

This year, UCI officials worked the pits during the event, rather than checking bikes prior to and after the race, as they have previously done. "[The UCI official] checked through bikes from most of the countries," said Aspire Racing mechanic Tom Hopper, adding that he was surprised to see the UCI official in the pits, working among mechanics who were scrambling to take care of muddy race bikes.

Van den Driessche claims the affair was an unintentional mix up. She told VRT Sport, she says, "I had honestly nothing to do with it. There was nothing wrong with the bike that I raced on. I've done nothing wrong," adding that the bike belongs to her brother's friend. Spectators reported that partway through the race, Van den Driessche was spotted walking with her bike on course as if she had a mechanical problem. Then, she climbed over the fence with her bike, DNFing the race and pedaling away.

Mechanical doping can, at the moment, result in a six-month suspension plus a fine of between $20,000 and $200,000—though some riders are calling for a more stringent sentence, even going so far as to say a lifetime ban is appropriate,

Kaitie Antonneau of Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld raced in the women's elite race at Worlds and says, "The whole thing really makes me angry. It's very disappointing." Also frustrating, she notes, is that the historic introduction of the women's U23 field was entirely overshadowed. "I understand the motor in the bicycle is an issue that needs to be addressed, but it's frustrating that this extremely negative situation overshadowed all of the women who worked so hard."

Details of this incident are still emerging, but mechanical doping is going to be a hot-button topic in cycling in the upcoming road and mountain bike seasons.

[ Edited by Ronnie49Lott on Jan 30, 2017 at 5:35 PM ]
Who cares
Originally posted by ChazBoner:
Who cares

What kind of ratings does cycling get?
Originally posted by valrod33:
Originally posted by ChazBoner:
Who cares

What kind of ratings does cycling get?

Originally posted by ChazBoner:
Who cares

You do.
Sounds cool, gonna move back to boulder, CO and cheat in some bike races.
Also my conspiracy theory is...hidden air compressors. Especially on a yacht (the Recent americas cup race between USA and nz a couple of years ago) I couldn't figure out between what happened.. the new Zealand yacht had only needed one more win to gain back the cup but...a change in crew of the American yacht and all of a sudden they were going like a Lamborghini whereas the nz yacht couldnt catch up. I believe they had hidden air compressors within the carbon fibre hull as well as mast and fins to help push the boat faster. Juz saying...
[ Edited by 4x4niner on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:59 PM ]

Hidden air compressors may be used on bikes as well.
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