According to a report broadcast by French TV station Stade 2, the UCI (cycling’s governing body) obstructed a police investigation into mechanical doping during the 2015 Tour de France. French police had received tips from multiple sources that two cyclists had been using illegal motors in their bikes during the early stages of last year’s Tour, and conducted surveillance on Stages 7–9. But their main target, a bike company engineer, never showed up, reportedly because a UCI official tipped him off.
Emails obtained by Stade 2 show that UCI technical manager Mark Barfield might have warned Typhoon Bikes CEO Harry Gibbings that French police were investigating a Hungarian engineer who was offering to install motors in bikes. That engineer is Stefano Varjas, a pioneer in mechanical doping technology who worked for Typhoon until six months ago. Stade 2 interviewed Varjas for their April investigation into moto-doping that used secret thermal camera footage to build a case that seven cyclists had been cheating at early-season races this year. Varjas detailed the manufacturing complex electro-magnetic induction systems, claimed to have built systems for a few elite pros, and also laid out how hard it was to catch cheaters.