The motors are real and have been used in robotics for years. hat with the leap forward in cold cell Li-po batteries in recent years (Last year alone saw some huge breakthoughs.) the power packs are small enough to pack thr punch needed to turn the cranks as shown in the video.
As for if Cancellara actually used one to win, surely everyone would have noticed the whirling motor sound coming from his frame.
Or the fact when the bikes are inspected before the race that his SRAM suddenly has Di2 controls????
But, the fact that Cancellara and the bike probably weigh around 86kg and it would require a motor with much higher outputs and thus a much larger power supply to create any reall difference. Basically these are just climb assists like seen on Japanese motorised Mama Chari.
Yet, at both events, he changed bikes only moments before those spooky accelerations, PLUS, he made the mysterious handlebar movements - triggering the miniblasts - when a helicopter was hovering right in the neighbourhood or where a huge crowd was cheering on de Muur...motor noise got completely "cancellaraut"..
It's quite worrying to see that people would seriously think even for a moment that a tiny motor with a tiny battery concealed in a seat tube could possibly speed up a powerful professional rider. No doubt it would slow him down considerably, not only because of the extra weight, but also because the motor would not be able to adjust to the ever varying cadence and power of the rider, and thus end up breaking the power rather than enhancing it. What works for Mamachari riders who can hardly move their legs makes no sense whatsoever for professionals. It shouldn't take an engineer to understand that much.
The story was in the Herald Tribune newspaper today. They hardly had any coverage of the Giro which really pissed me off, and now they run a huge artical on this It's unfortunate that it takes a controversy like this to get cycling in the news.