Gaimon stands by Cancellara mechanical doping comments

Former US pro Phil Gaimon said Tuesday that he stands by statements made in his book and that he believes Fabian Cancellara engaged in mechanical doping during the Swiss rider's career.

Writing on his website, Gaimon says the comments in his book, Draft Animals: Living the Pro Cycling Dream (Once in a While), only repeated a "well-documented" rumour, one that he says he believes.

"I stand by my opinion, but it's exactly that, and anyone who actually opened the book would know that what I said was far from an 'accusation,'" Gaimon wrote on his website. "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."

Cancellara, through his manager, demanded that Gaimon's publisher retract the book and that Gaimon publicly apologise. Gaimon’s statement on his website did not include an apology, but he did emphasise that the passage concerning Cancellara in the book was only his opinion and not an "accusation."

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.'

"When you watch the footage, his accelerations don't look natural at all, like he's having trouble staying on the top of the pedals. That fucker probably did have a motor," Gaimon wrote in his book.

Cancellara has always denied accusations of mechanical doping, saying, "My body is my motor." Gaimon, when asked about the passage by Cyclingnews last week, clarified that he believed mechanical doping did happen, but only a few times before the public caught on and made it impossible to continue using motors. He 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.

Gaimon's full statement:

In “Draft Animals,” I repeated a rumor that’s well-documented and many years old, and I presented it as such. I stand by my opinion, but it’s exactly that, and anyone who actually opened the book would know that what I said was far from an “accusation.” 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. Ironically, that part in the book is dismissing conspiracy theories about motors today as clickbait, and it’s now been turned into clickbait.

My friendship with Tom Danielson is a big part of the story, so usually when I get hate mail, it’s calling me a hypocrite for not being enough of a "doper hater." I didn’t expect this to be pulled out of context or turned into mudslinging, and I’m sorry for anyone who’s wasted time or energy on it. That's not how I wanted to sell books, and it’s not worth this headache. There were some things I had to get off my chest and some tough times to share to give a picture of the sport as I experienced it, but if a juicy tell-all is what you’re looking for, don’t bother buying it. I don’t reference any scandal you haven’t heard before, and I’ll probably show empathy towards dopers that you want me to hate. I expect that type of reader will be disappointed.

The story I want to tell is about what it means to follow a dream to the bitter end–how hard I worked, how good I had to get and what I chose to put myself through, ultimately to suck at the highest level of cycling and make peace with it. It’s my truth and it’s the best I could do and I put a lot of time and emotion into it, but my opinions aren’t always popular, which I understand will make some people angry. I hope a few of you will read past the noise and enjoy “Draft Animals” for what it is.

As always, shoutout to everyone who gets it, everyone who takes the time to read the book (instead of a sentence that someone tweeted) before they judge, and I’m going for a bike ride.


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