Fabian Cancellara has challenged Phil Gaimon to a race after the former American rider repeated rumours in his book that Cancellara may have used mechanical doping to win the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in 2010.
In what seems like an attempt to diffuse a war of words and promote his post-career commercial activities, Cancellara took to Twitter to invite Gaimon to one of the eight Chasing Cancellara events planned for 2018.
The VIP events offer anyone a chance to take on Cancellara on a short timed route, with those who beat him awarded a "Fabian Cancellara Conqueror Certificate"
Cancellara concluded his offer by saying: I am very curious to see how much watt you can push! Start training! #nomotorneeded.
Gaimon was quick to respond to the challenge, writing: “Are there cookies? Bike rides should have cookies” referencing his running joke that he loves eating cookies. He did not say if he would take up Cancellara's offer.
Cancellara's challenge appears to have eased the tension regarding Gaimon's claims. Soon after they emerged, the Swiss riders' lawyers demanded that he apologise and that publishers remove the book from sale. However Gaimon hit back with a statement insisting that he was simply "repeated a rumor that's well-documented and many years old."
He added: "Put a gun to my head and that's what I believe so I'd be a liar if I left it out, but I claim no revelations or proof, so I don't see it being 'taken off the shelves' except by the folks buying it".
The passage in Gaimon's book frames the allegations in a manner similar to internet arguments dating back to the 2010 Tour of Flanders, when suspicions first arose that Cancellara's acceleration on the Kapelmuur were 'unnatural.'
Cancellara has always denied accusations of mechanical doping, once saying, "My body is my motor". However new UCI president David Lappartient told Cyclingnews that the UCI would investigate the latest claims.
Gaimon insisted that the anecdote in the book was taken out of the context, and that he was only trying to break down the sport's main heroes and focus attention on lesser, deserving riders. His book, titled Draft Animals: Living the Pro Cycling Dream (Once in a While), gives gritty details of his fight to survive as a professional rider.
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