Motoman madness

September 17, 2012

This was something I didn’t see coming, somebody out of Tyler’s confessional turning into a cult hero. Motoman, the character who allegedly shuttled EPO in refrigerated panniers during the Tour de France.

Motoman would have been nothing but a funny name had it not been for the fact that he and his bike shop appear in photos with Sean Yates, a Team Sky car, various Radioshack riders and Lance anno 1999. Now everybody sees sinister connections.

While I love a good conspiracy, this “evidence” is a total joke in my view. Although it may be completely accurate that all these people had some funny business together, the photos don’t prove anything (nor do they prove the connections are innocent, BTW).

If a photo of Sean Yates or these riders and a guy (allegedly) involved in doping in some way constitutes proof, then surely the thousands of photos of any of them with Bjarne Riis, Johan Bruyneel, Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso, etc, etc, etc would have “proven that point” already. What’s so special about Motoman, other than that it actually means less, since you can very plausibly say you had no idea who he is and what he does/has done?

The guy is a Trek dealer, that much is clear. And if you ride a Trek bike for a living and a Trek dealer asks you to pose for a photo with him, you oblige. Pretty logical I think. You don’t first run a background check to make sure the guy is in fact a bike dealer and not a drug dealer. So the photos of him with Radioshack riders at various races seem pretty normal to me.

The photos in front of his shop are a bit different, at least those people must have made an effort to get there. But again, it doesn’t have to mean anything. The bike shop seems to be a legitimate business, so it’s difficult to ascertain whether these riders or Yates go there because it’s a bike shop or because of Motoman’s side business.

What is worrisome is that nobody is commenting. If you don’t have anything to hide, why hide?

22 Responses to “Motoman madness”

  1. nick Says:

    “f a photo of Sean Yates or these riders and a guy (allegedly) involved in doping in some way was any proof, then surely the thousands of photos of any of them with Bjarne Riis, Johan Bruyneel, Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso, etc, etc, etc would have “proven that point” already.”

    That’s a pretty weak point. You would expect that someone such as Sean Yates would meet or know those people – they’re coworkers. You would not expect Sean Yates to know a random a Trek dealer from the South of France.

    I don’t think the photographs prove anything. But the Sean Yates thing is a hell of a coincidence.


    • But he’s not a random Trek dealer. He is a guy who has spent a lot of time at races, for “business” and it appears from the photos also for pleasure as a groupie. So it would be plausible that he gets to know people in that world, and he may get friendly with some of them, without necessarily carrying blood bags for everybody he meets. And I would also presume that given the type of work he was allegedly in, he wouldn’t go around introducing himself as “Hi, I’m Motoman, I shuttle around Lance’s blood”.

  2. sander Says:

    Most desciptions of the photo’s I saw did not accuse the riders which posed with him.


  3. Sean Yates used to live in the Nice area when he raced with Peugeot/Fagor and then eventually Motorola. It’s not unlikely he encountered a local frenchman who was a mechanic, before that same guy eventuated into *motoman*.
    So, although much has been made of Sean’s photo taken with motochops, it could easily be explained away, as old mate.
    Perhaps, its an issue for some, given who motoman was and his job, but it takes more than a photo.

    Wait until the first photos of him on his refrigerated pannier motorbike, surface…….

    Over the early years of Motorola, many other riders slowly began living in the area, including Phil Anderson, some more clued up readers can fill in the other US riders aside from Lance, who gravitated to the area, before it got too hot & they relocated to the more sympathetic climate of Girona…..

    Or in some cases Clapham, London.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Of course, Yates also has tested positive for drugs in the past. It’s not conclusive evidence, just another small jigsaw piece.

  5. Evan Shaw Says:

    And the idea of the valorous LA flying up the Alp with motoman in pursuit all subsequent to LA having cancer is just a terrible image.

  6. watchhillian Says:

    I’m just finishing Hamilton’s book. I have to say I am impressed, impressed with the detail of the pro cycling life to begin with, not so much the the honesty after the fact, truth be known, although I give a nod of the head to Hamilton to clear the air. Motoman? Why not? If we’re expected to believe everything that went on including BB, Ufe (sp?) Tyler FUCKING Hamilton in the home town parade, whatever, Motoman is another dark hero of the entire charade. And, as a lifelong observer of bicycle racing as well as an amateur and senior racer in my own local region, I must say the final dregs of the whole affair give what I care about a certain legitimacy. Bully for them. Bully for me! Shit..what happened to hopping on a bike to go for a ride, for Christ’s sake?

    • Chris Says:

      I finished Tyler’s book last week as well, along with Rough Ride. I was a bit disappointed with Tyler’s book because it seems that once he left Postal the book seemed to speed up a bit and later his comeback and doping along with is depression isn’t touched on or discussed fully.

      I would also have liked a chapter specifically from Haven’s point of view, perhaps explaining her rationalization and at what point did she realize she’d followed Tyler down the rabbit hole.

      As for Rough Ride, am I the only one to read it and come away thinking that Paul Kimmage would best be described as a could’ve/ would’ve been type of individual? In the beginning of the book he says he rode more on spirit than talent and he comes off as having a higher impression of his sklls than reality proved. Overall i wasn’t that impressed and perhaps because of Festina, Pantani, Lance, Floyd & Tyler, Puerto, etc., etc., That he fretted over taking vitamin shots and caffeine pills didn’t seem that shocking.


      • Well, if there is one thing that Tyler’s book proves, it’s how incredibly fake most other “tell-all” autobiographies from other cyclists in this era are.

        As for Kimmage, I think people who read his book as a doping book are shortchanging it and themselves. It’s simply a very good sports book in my opinion. And maybe the difference in “shock-value” between Rough Ride and The Secret Race is a sign of the times, more than a sign of the writing.

        As for Kimmage ability, I don’t see the logic. He says he raced more on spirit than talent, so how is that overestimating one’s skills? Sounds more like underestimating them. I don’t think riders like Kimmage or Bassons or whoever claim that on a level playing field, they’d have been world champion. The book appeared to me as being pretty realistic about his own ability. But of course to each their own interpretation.

        • Chris Says:

          I did enjoy Rough Ride, but perhaps it’s importance had been built up to the point that like a highly anticipated sequel to a film released decades earlier, the hype took away from the actual book. As for his interpretation of his ability he does mention how he thought he’d be a climber, but it turned out that for the most part he wasn’t. The one thing that came to mind was that of the minor/ major leagues in baseball. And I wondered if cycling had something akin to that how he’d have faired in that environment, i.e. would he languished in the minors for a decade or more with maybe one or two visits to the Show?

          RR was a good read, but I think one has to put it into the context of the time it was published because the revelations of it aren’t so shocking to those of us who came into cycling in the last 10 years.

          I also think David Millar has set the bar very high for tell all autobiographies. His was so engrossing that I found myself not wanting to put it down.

  7. Irvin Smith Says:

    Thanks Gerard for the post. Your comments match with my feelings exactly. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? The twittersphere has exploded with motoman photos with various people and accusations. Photos are meaningless without facts. Personally, I don’t know what is happening either way, so I don’t want to speculate..

  8. racepace Says:

    I agree the silence is deafning over anything to do with the peleton and doping! I don’t think any rider who has doped will come out against anything, and any rider who hasn’t doped probably doesn’t have either the proof (due to the closed circle of dopers) or the bravery to say anything for the fear of being unemployable afterwards.

    I struggle to see how this spiral can be broken so we can all move forward.

    It seems every day I am disappointed by someone who I looked up to who has either been caught or implicated in someway. Every grand tour I have watched this year has made me feel sick at the thought that riders who have cheated are still out there earning big bucks. I dread to hear the results of any tests incase it is yet another tour winner who has been caught.

  9. Evan Shaw Says:

    Ashendon’s opinion piece in cyclingnews.com today speaks articulately and constructively about the current Omertà including continued advanced doping practices and the need for truth and reconciliation, removing the three legs of omertà and an independent analytical and non analytical investigative body not under UCI. Very persuasive and practical.

    For me it should go farther we must expel those in management and UCI capacities who were complicit.

  10. Evan Shaw Says:

    Gerard. Could it be that even you have become jaded with the whole systematic doping scene? I can’t see how you call motoman a cult hero. LA who took steroids prior to getting cancer, which at best did not help prevent him getting it, recovers and then takes multiple doping products a frighteningly horrible choice for a cancer survivor. And has a lowly mechanic risk his life and livelihood by being a drug mule. Very disgusting and certainly not funny.

    • Skater Says:

      That needed to be said Evan, thanks. If Motoman is exposed for factual deeds. he is complicit to very grave crimes against sports as a whole, sportsfan, sponsors, and governments funding actual development of riders and facilities where mere cheaping would have sufficed.


    • He’s not my cult hero, he shouldn’t be anybody’s cult hero, but just look at some other comments. Sad but true.

      • Evan Shaw Says:

        Good. Had me worried you had had it with the whole nasty system. Lol.
        And frankly we need your perspective. Have u read Ashendons article. He calls for much of what you have said is needed.

  11. MM1 Says:

    Yates and Motoman may or may not be connected in ways that are sinister…but (allegedly) they’re motorcycling buddies. I was impressed with the veracity of Hamilton’s account, nothing sensationalised and no obvious contradictions, it’s very clear about how a lie can grow until it has to become the truth, the power of money and how some relationships can go very bad indeed.


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