The latest cycling scandal has generated the kind of comment not seen since the glory years of widespread doping in the sport. Is motorised assistance widespread in cycling? Unlikely, but what is important is that it be nipped in the bud before it does more harm than actual doping.
Today, Italian bicycle manufacturer Wilier Triestina has threatened to sue Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessch who is alleged to have brought a motorised bike to the Cyclo-cross world championships.
Company chief executive Andrea Gastaldello said he was stunned by the news and announced he would take legal action "to safeguard the reputation and image of the company."
"We are literally shocked, as the main technical partner, we want to distance from this act absolutely contrary to the basic values of our company, and with the principles of each sporting competition," Gastaldello said.
"It's unacceptable that the photos of our bike is making the rounds of the international media due to this unpleasant fact. We work every day to bring worldwide the quality of our products and when we know that a Wilier Triestina’s bike is tampered with we’re very sad.
"Our company will take legal action against the athlete and against any responsible for this very serious matter, in order to safeguard the good name and image of the company, marked by professionalism and seriousness in 110 years of history."
So far Van den Driessche has denied any wrongdoing, with the exact details of the incident yet to be revealed and subject to further investigation by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
That bike belongs to a friend of mine,” she said. “He trains along with us. He joined my brothers and my father. That friend joined my brother at the reconnaissance and he placed the bike against the truck but it’s identical to mine. Last year he bought it from me. My mechanics have cleaned the bike and put it in the truck. They must’ve thought that it was my bike. I don’t know how it happened.”
The UCI President Brian Cookson said "it's absolutely clear that there was technological fraud," but to what degree we do not yet know.
Clearly we're in new territory with this revelation.