French amateur mechanical doper sentenced to 60 hours of community service

Cyril Fontayne, the 43-year-old French amateur cyclist who was caught using a hidden motor during a race last October, has been found guilty of attempted fraud and sentenced to 60 hours of community service by a court in Périgueux.

Fontayne was already found guilty of technological fraud and handed a five-year ban by the French Cycling Federation (FFC) in December, and AFP has reported that he pleaded also guilty before the correctional tribunal in Périguex on Tuesday.

As well the 60 hours of community service, Fontayne must pay a symbolic €1 in damages to the FFC and a further €88 to the Créon-d'Armagnac cycling club, the organiser of a race in which he used his hidden motor.

The former rider Christophe Bassons, who now works for the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), was involved in unmasking Fontayne when he drove after the rider and blocked his escape when the motor was discovered in his bike at a race in Saint-Michel-de-Double, near Bordeaux.

"There was a sanction, the misdemeanour has been recognised," Bassons said after Fontayne's hearing, according to Le Parisien. "Today, we have shown that cheating during a race can lead to a conviction for fraud."

Fontayne's motor doping was discovered on October 1 in a race for veterans and juniors with a field of just 16 riders. He had been targeted by the AFLD after arousing the suspicions of his fellow competitors in the weeks prior to the race.

He reportedly bought the rudimentary downtube motor from a French website and fitted it to a frame bought online from China. He suggested that the French site sells between twenty and thirty motors a month. Fontayne said that he had started using the motor after suffering with a herniated disc earlier in 2017.

"I don't sell drugs and I didn't kill a child, I put a motor in my bike," Fontayne told France Bleu in October. "I'll serve as an example but I think it will do good to cycling because I am not the only one doing it."

Fontayne's was the second reported case of motor doping in amateur cycling in 2017 after an Italian rider was caught using a similar device during a race near Brescia.

The most notable proven case of motor doping is that of Belgian cyclo-cross rider Femke Van den Driessche, who was caught with a hidden motor in a bike at the 2016 Cyclo-cross World Championships. She was subsequently banned for six years.

UCI President David Lappartient has pledged to improve testing for mechanical doping after doubts were raised about the efficiency of the UCI's magnetic tablets. The governing body is due to outline its plans in Aigle later this month.

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