I think so-called “mechanical doping” is very different to traditional chemical doping. And the difference is such that it makes mechanical doping far less likely than normal doping.
Traditional Doping: It’s All About the Rider
Doping actually changes a rider’s physiology and transforms him into a stronger and faster rider. He can get on any bike and take on anyone and kick ass. His human performance is elevated, even if it is ultimately thanks to some alien substances in his body.
It’s virtually indistinguishable from the rider being naturally strong and a highly trained elite athlete.
Mechanical Doping: It’s All About the Bike
Mechanical doping transforms the bike. It does nothing for the rider, and with the right mechanics he could even be a complete wimp. He just needs to know where the switch is turn.
So while these forms of doping are both cheating, there’s a big philosophical and psychological difference.
There’s some degree of honor and in the rider being stronger, there’s none what so ever in your bike having a motor.
Mechanical doping is just flat out cheating with no upside for the rider apart from a stolen win. I can see an elite athlete being tempted to dope, I can’t see such an athlete sticking a motor on his bike.
There’s also the problem of conspiracy. A doper can dope privately and independently of the team. That’s highly unlikely in the case of mechanical doping, the mechanics at the least would have to be in on it.
And what if you have a mechanical for real and the team car can’t get to you in time? Your bike is going to be suspiciously heavy to anyone that touches it.
Recent Mechanical Doping Conspiracy Theories
There’s been a few, of course Cancellara’s Roubaix win was a big one, but there have been many more… Google “mechanical doping”.
At the time of this writing, “mechanical doping” conspiracy theories erupted after a Movistar mechanic “hides” broken bike in team car…
These fans must be bored and a little dense. There’s a simple and obvious answer. Sigh.