Leopard Trek manager Brian Nygaard has denied reports that Fabian Cancellara is making use of an innovative system of ball bearings that offers gains of up to 2.5 seconds per kilometre.
A report in La Dernière Heure suggested that Cancellara had been using Gold-Race bearings, developed by Italian Giovanni Cecchini, since 2007. The pioneering technology claims to offer a significant reduction in friction, helping to cause a decrease in lactic acid accumulation and allowing the use of bigger gears.
However, Nygaard explained that while Cancellara may have been using such technology in the past, the Gold-Race material is not being used by anyone on the Leopard Trek team. Cancellara joined the new squad this season after five years at Saxo Bank.
“I think there’s a bit of confusion here,” Nygaard told Cyclingnews. “I think they might have been attached when he was still working with Specialized [up until he left Saxo Bank at the end of 2010] but I can guarantee you 100 per cent that we are not working with these people at all.”
A video on dh.be shows the Gold-Race equipment in action, but Nygaard pointed out that the crankset shown is not one used by the Leopard Trek team.
“If you look at the video, you can see that the stuff there are fiddling with is not the product that we are using, it looks like old material,” Nygaard said. “But I can guarantee you, I spoke to the mechanics and everything, and we’re not working with these people at all.”
It is not the first time that Cancellara's equipment has come under scrutiny. Last year, the Swiss rider was accused in a YouTube video of having an electronic motor hidden in his frame during the Classics, prompting the UCI to scan bikes at the Tour de France prologue. Cancellara was an emphatic winner on the Tour’s opening day, quickly drawing a line under the controversy.