Lithium Powered Cheats at The Tour De France

Professional cyclists are finding new means to cheat at the Tour De France

Cycling’s premier event, the Tour De France showcases some of the world’s finest athletes battle it out in a superhuman test of endurance. In recent years however the Tour has also been a showcase for cycling, and professional sport’s dark underbelly, cheating. Perhaps no professional athlete has fallen from such high esteem than cycling’s golden boy, Lance Armstrong, a name now synonymous with both greatness and the shame of being a proven performance enhancing substance user.  Armstrong is not alone, The Next Web reports that, from 1998 to 2012, nearly half of top 10 Tour finishers tested positive for performance enhancing substances.

Performance enhancing substances are not the only way to get ahead in professional cycling it seems. A 60 Minutes report aired on Sunday the 29th, 2017, investigated a new form of cheating unique to cycling, hiding electric motors inside bike frames, complete with secret activation buttons, to give unscrupulous athletes an unfair advantage.

60 Minutes Correspondent Bill Whittaker inspects a bike which has a visually undetectable electric drive system seamlessly integrated into its frame. Source: 60 Minutes/CBS

60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whittaker interviewed Istvan Varjas, an engineer who says he invented the motor and drive system which he claims is being used by cyclists in the Tour De France.

The motor which engineer Istvan Varjas claims to have invented and is being used by athletes to cheat on the Tour De France. Source: 60 Minutes/CBS
Varjas is also already at work developing an electromagnetic wheel-based drive system which will provide the next generation of ‘mechanical doping.’
A demonstration of the next generation of ‘mechanical doping’ being developed by Varjas, electromagnetic drive located inside the wheel of the bike. Source: 60 Minutes/CBS

The 60 Minutes report comes after Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and France’s Télévisions Stade 2 news station used thermal imaging cameras last April to allegedly catch as many as seven competitors using hidden motors at Strade Bianche and Coppi e Bartali road races in Italy.

Thermal imaging cameras captures a suspicious heat signature from a suspected frame embedded electronic motor used by a professional cyclist. Source: Televisions Stade 2

Jean-Pierre Verdy, former testing director for the French Anti-Doping Agency who has dedicated his professional career to investigating doping at the Tour De France divulged to 60 Minutes that his sources claim that around one dozen cyclists used hidden motors in the 2015 Tour de France, an alarming trend in an otherwise great competition and sport.



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Redbull Defiance

Redefining adventure racing in New Zealand

Source: Redbull Content Pool

Mother nature is not to be trifled with. She can throw some pretty gnarly things at you, and in a land as raw and pristine as New Zealand the extreme becomes the norm. Enter the Redbull Defiance, a twist on the traditional triathlon, a two person team, two day adventure race which combines trail running, kayaking, endurance mountain biking, and “the creative element of undisclosed special stages.”

Defiance, by definition is the presentation of challenge, but at the same time a means to overcome challenge. The course, created by multisport endurance phenom and Kiwi, Braden Currie is designed to do just that, challenge as well as push athletes to overcome by racing through and over some of the most beautiful scenery the South Island of New Zealand has to offer. Situated in the Wanaka region and focusing on and around Lake Wanaka the 2017 course consisted of a 71 KM enduro mountain bike, 39 KM trail run, 40 KM kayak, 60 M abseil, all of which combined measure out at 5238 M of vertical.

Day one:

Stage one: Bike

Source: Redbull Defiance

Distance: 43 km
Altitude Gain: 1200 m
Terrain: Well formed 4WD/rough farm tracks/potentially muddy/river crossings
Expected Fastest time: 2hr 20 min

Stage two: Run

Source: Redbull Defiance

Distance: 11 km
Altitude Gain: 490m
Terrain: Steep technical climb/fully formed trail/abseil
Expected Fastest time: 1hr 15min

Special Stage: Abseil

The special stage for day one is a abseil descent of rocky outcrops into the native bush of Diamond Lake. All abseil equipment is provided and instruction from professionals is provided to aid the completion of this stage. Timing for this portion is halted and athletes will have no more than 5 minutes to prepare for the abseil with the equipment provided. Timing resumes as athletes begin their abseil down the rock face.

Stage four: Kayak

Source: Redbull Defiance

Distance: 20 km
Terrain: River/Lake
Expected Fastest time: 1 hr 45min

Day Two:

Stage Four: Kayak

Source: Redbull Defiance

Distance: 20 km
Altitude Gain: 0 m
Terrain: Lake/river/rapid/fast flow
Expected Fastest time: 1 hr 30mins

Stage Five: Bike

Source: Redbull Defiance

Distance: 28 km
Altitude Gain: 1278 m
Terrain: 4WD track/single track/rough terrain
Expected fastest time: 2hrs

Special Stage: Clay Pigeon Shoot

Both team members get 1 shot each. If a shot is made then the team is free to start the next stage of the event, if both shots miss, teams will be forced to take a two minute penalty before starting the next stage of the race.

Stage Six: Run

Source: Redbull Defiance

Distance: 28 km
Altitude Gain: 1848 m
Terrain: Farm tracks/markers/exposed alpine route/rocks/shingle
Expected fastest time: 3 hrs 15min

Details of Redbull Defiance 2018 have yet to be announced, but with a overwhelmingly positive reaction from the endurance racing community we’re sure that course info and registration for the coming year will be available soon, likely to be held in January of 2018. As Jess Simson, Women’s One Day Coast to Coast Champion 2014, and all around badass, says, “If there is any multisport race to do in the world right now, Red Bull Defiance is it!”

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