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2023 World TT Championship / UCI Rules

Old 08-15-23, 03:46 PM
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2023 World TT Championship / UCI Rules

I noticed that some riders (notably Evenepoel and Van Aert) had what appeared to be a bottle or other container in the chest area of their skinsuit. This has been a trend recently in triathlon, but unless I'm mistaken, UCI rules forbid it. There are rules against wearing hydration systems on the front of the rider and rules against adding items or clothing which serve no other purpose than to alter body morphology / improve aerodynamics. Am I missing something or is the UCI turning a blind eye?
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Old 08-16-23, 07:56 AM
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You're missing something. It was a race radio (with, presumably, a lot of padding or something for "safety") which is allowed.
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Old 08-17-23, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile
You're missing something.
I haven't visited Bike forums in a while, but good to see the ******baggery lives on here.

I'd seen this article claiming it was a water bottle, so I guessed it was something of that nature. Either way, the size and placement seem to violate the spirit of some of the UCI rules, so it's strange that they would allow it. Doesn't make sense that a race radio is allowed to be used to improve aerodynamics, but a water bottle isn't.
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Old 08-17-23, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by chadteck
I haven't visited Bike forums in a while, but good to see the ******baggery lives on here.
You did ask if you were missing something.
I'd seen this article claiming it was a water bottle, so I guessed it was something of that nature. Either way, the size and placement seem to violate the spirit of some of the UCI rules, so it's strange that they would allow it. Doesn't make sense that a race radio is allowed to be used to improve aerodynamics, but a water bottle isn't.

How likely is it that both Remco and WVA would blatantly cheat in a way that is visible to everyone and hope to somehow get away with it for a gain of a few seconds? Whatever they did, the Belgium team certainly cleared it with the race officials beforehand.
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Old 08-17-23, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile
You did ask if you were missing something.
Fair enough, I guess.

How likely is it that both Remco and WVA would blatantly cheat in a way that is visible to everyone and hope to somehow get away with it for a gain of a few seconds? Whatever they did, the Belgium team certainly cleared it with the race officials beforehand.
My point isn't to accuse those 2 riders of cheating, but I used them as examples because they were the most obvious cases. I wouldn't assume that they cleared it with officials. There have been times in the past where things like this were only called into question after the fact. Anyway, if the UCI's stance is that it's OK, then it is inconsistent with their rules regarding hydration and clothing alterations. It's clearly done for an aero advantage and the "safety" argument doesn't hold up. If safety is a concern, then not using the radio would be best.

Regarding the potential gain: as I mentioned, putting a water bottle down the jersey is currently a trend in triathlon. It has been tested and a 28oz bottle can result in a 2-7% drag reduction. I didn't do extensive math, but at the duration of this event, even a 1-2% drag reduction would have made the difference between the top 2 spots.
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Old 08-17-23, 05:09 PM
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Great topic. It reminded me of this, arguably similar contretemps.
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Old 08-18-23, 07:40 AM
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If a water bottle is good for 2-7% I can't imagine the gain that I get from my gut ! WOW !
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Old 08-18-23, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by chadteck
Fair enough, I guess.



My point isn't to accuse those 2 riders of cheating, but I used them as examples because they were the most obvious cases. I wouldn't assume that they cleared it with officials. There have been times in the past where things like this were only called into question after the fact. Anyway, if the UCI's stance is that it's OK, then it is inconsistent with their rules regarding hydration and clothing alterations. It's clearly done for an aero advantage and the "safety" argument doesn't hold up. If safety is a concern, then not using the radio would be best.
It's not inconsistent. Radios are allowed. Here's a post showing a photo of UK doing the same thing in 2021 mixed relay.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1421...2520804394762/
or:
https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/wha...ay-time-trial/
No one, in any official capacity, is complaining about this. If there was something there, they would be. Italy would be screaming at the top of their lungs if this was in any way questionable. You'll also note in the linked article Alex Dowsett says "The UCI do all the checks. We spend 15-20 minutes with them before the start. They check the bikes before we come to the start as well. They look us up and down, and at the end of the day they let us roll down the start ramp or they don't."
Regarding the potential gain: as I mentioned, putting a water bottle down the jersey is currently a trend in triathlon. It has been tested and a 28oz bottle can result in a 2-7% drag reduction. I didn't do extensive math, but at the duration of this event, even a 1-2% drag reduction would have made the difference between the top 2 spots.
1-2% is possible. If you believe it is anywhere near 7% then I've got some ocean front property in Montana you may be interested in.

Last edited by OBoile; 08-18-23 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 08-18-23, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile
It's not inconsistent. Radios are allowed.
This isn't a question of whether radios are allowed, it's a question of whether it's reasonable to modify and place them in such a way that grants an aerodynamic advantage. It is absolutely inconsistent for rules meant to prevent hydration systems being used for aero benefit to not apply to race radios as well. Here is an unformatted copy/paste from the UCI Technical Regulations with some of the rules I'm referring to. I don't think you can read it and think that what they are doing with radios should be allowed.

Hydration is an essential physiological consideration for athletes during a physical effort. Neither bottles nor camelback systems should diverge from their original function. There is a significant risk of camelback systems or any similar devices being used for other purposes than their original function. For this reason certain restrictions apply if they are to be used in competition: •The camelback system is authorized for competition solely for the purpose of rehydrating the rider. •It must not be the case that the system, presented as a way of improving a rider's hydration during an effort, is accompanied by an "aerodynamic clothing" advantage, in this way deflecting the camelback system from its original function. •The liquid container must not be capable of holding more than 0.5 liters and must not be a rigid shape liable to be considered as a device for improving the rider’s aerodynamic qualities. •The use of the camelback system must not modify the rider's morphology and must thus be directly attached against the body. •The use of the camelback system is only allowed on the back of the rider. It is mandatory for all riders who want to use a camelback system to present it to the commissaires before the start of the race at the risk of being disqualified.

Items of clothing may not modify the morphology of the rider and any non-essential element or device, of which the purpose is not exclusively that of clothing or protection, is forbidden. This shall also apply regarding any material or substance applied onto the skin or clothing and which is not itself an item of clothing.

It is also prohibited to wear clothing or skinsuits to which non-essential elements have been added with a view to improving their aerodynamic properties such as, for example, "wings" under the arms or an extension between the helmet and the jersey or skinsuit. It is obligatory for clothing to follow the cyclist's body shape.

No one, in any official capacity, is complaining about this. If there was something there, they would be. Italy would be screaming at the top of their lungs if this was in any way questionable. You'll also note in the linked article Alex Dowsett says "The UCI do all the checks. We spend 15-20 minutes with them before the start. They check the bikes before we come to the start as well. They look us up and down, and at the end of the day they let us roll down the start ramp or they don't."
Italy should be complaining. Due to the inconsistency I mentioned, it's stupid that such modification / placement of races radios is allowed. If it should be allowed, then open it up for hydration systems and other questionable clothing alterations as well.

1-2% is possible. If you believe it is anywhere near 7% then I've got some ocean front property in Montana you may be interested in.
The range I mentioned was from an article that did actual testing with a 28oz bottle and some comments from an aero expert in another article. Whether you think it's possible or not doesn't matter, when actual testing demonstrates otherwise. I'm not claiming that Remco and Wout realized a 7% reduction in drag from the modified/strategically placed radios, but I don't think it's unreasonable to estimate that it could be in the range of 1-2%, based on testing that has been done on other riders. Sometimes small changes can produce seemingly disproportionate reductions in drag.
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Old 08-19-23, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by chadteck
My point isn't to accuse those 2 riders of cheating, but I used them as examples because they were the most obvious cases. I wouldn't assume that they cleared it with officials. There have been times in the past where things like this were only called into question after the fact. Anyway, if the UCI's stance is that it's OK, then it is inconsistent with their rules regarding hydration and clothing alterations. It's clearly done for an aero advantage and the "safety" argument doesn't hold up. If safety is a concern, then not using the radio would be best.
The triathlon article wasn't the most informed source. The UCI rules on TT hydration are pretty explicit and not tri-like.

It did seem to me that your point was to ask if they were cheating, albeit among others. Perhaps the waffle here is over a Clintonesque nuance of what "accuse" means. However, I have no problem whatsoever with the accusation / question / discussion topic. It's a fair ask.

The dance of regulation / innovative interpretation / clarification or change is as old as officiating. There's a lot of that going on here. And the lynch pin to some legitimacy, if not a full safe harbor, is the radio at the core of the purpose. It gives wiggle room that hydration or clothing doesn't.

As for the "cleared it with officials" angle, there are various possibilities there. Certainly there could have been an advance consult. Another angle is to just present for the sign in and inspection. If passed, then silence is consent. There are a variety of infractions for which the officials may refuse a start if not remedied. This one seems to be pretty simple to remedy on the fly if the commissaire objected at the tech inspection. I have no idea what went down in this specific instance.
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Old 08-19-23, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by chadteck
This isn't a question of whether radios are allowed, it's a question of whether it's reasonable to modify and place them in such a way that grants an aerodynamic advantage. It is absolutely inconsistent for rules meant to prevent hydration systems being used for aero benefit to not apply to race radios as well. Here is an unformatted copy/paste from the UCI Technical Regulations with some of the rules I'm referring to. I don't think you can read it and think that what they are doing with radios should be allowed.

Hydration is an essential physiological consideration for athletes during a physical effort. Neither bottles nor camelback systems should diverge from their original function. There is a significant risk of camelback systems or any similar devices being used for other purposes than their original function. For this reason certain restrictions apply if they are to be used in competition: •The camelback system is authorized for competition solely for the purpose of rehydrating the rider. •It must not be the case that the system, presented as a way of improving a rider's hydration during an effort, is accompanied by an "aerodynamic clothing" advantage, in this way deflecting the camelback system from its original function. •The liquid container must not be capable of holding more than 0.5 liters and must not be a rigid shape liable to be considered as a device for improving the rider’s aerodynamic qualities. •The use of the camelback system must not modify the rider's morphology and must thus be directly attached against the body. •The use of the camelback system is only allowed on the back of the rider. It is mandatory for all riders who want to use a camelback system to present it to the commissaires before the start of the race at the risk of being disqualified.

Items of clothing may not modify the morphology of the rider and any non-essential element or device, of which the purpose is not exclusively that of clothing or protection, is forbidden. This shall also apply regarding any material or substance applied onto the skin or clothing and which is not itself an item of clothing.

It is also prohibited to wear clothing or skinsuits to which non-essential elements have been added with a view to improving their aerodynamic properties such as, for example, "wings" under the arms or an extension between the helmet and the jersey or skinsuit. It is obligatory for clothing to follow the cyclist's body shape.



Italy should be complaining. Due to the inconsistency I mentioned, it's stupid that such modification / placement of races radios is allowed. If it should be allowed, then open it up for hydration systems and other questionable clothing alterations as well.



The range I mentioned was from an article that did actual testing with a 28oz bottle and some comments from an aero expert in another article. Whether you think it's possible or not doesn't matter, when actual testing demonstrates otherwise. I'm not claiming that Remco and Wout realized a 7% reduction in drag from the modified/strategically placed radios, but I don't think it's unreasonable to estimate that it could be in the range of 1-2%, based on testing that has been done on other riders. Sometimes small changes can produce seemingly disproportionate reductions in drag.
TLDR.
It wasn't illegal. Hence, no protests from people actually involved.
Wearing race radios in the front is fairly common, albeit not with the "padding" seen here.
If this provided a huge advantage, every team would be doing it, or complaining about it.
In short: not a big deal.
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Old 08-19-23, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by slcbob
The UCI rules on TT hydration are pretty explicit ...
Right. So why are there not explicit rules regarding race radios if they are being exploited in the same manner as hydration was? I assumed it was because the verbiage regarding clothing makes it pretty clear that this sort of thing shouldn't be allowed, but it apparently isn't sufficient.

It did seem to me that your point was to ask if they were cheating, albeit among others. Perhaps the waffle here is over a Clintonesque nuance of what "accuse" means.
I don't feel that my original post had an accusatory tone towards those riders. I pointed them out primarily because they had the most obvious chest schlongs, but also because they are popular riders, so I recalled them off the top of my head when writing the post. I don't have a grudge against them or care to claim that they, in particular, are cheating. This isn't even necessarily about the riders that are taking advantage of this tactic, but about what I feel to be an inconsistency in the rules (or enforcement of them).

And the lynch pin to some legitimacy, if not a full safe harbor, is the radio at the core of the purpose. It gives wiggle room that hydration or clothing doesn't.
This is exactly what I don't agree with. Why should the fact that it's a radio give wiggle room? A radio isn't even necessary when hydration is, so why should a radio be given privilege that hydration is denied? If hydration is required to be worn on the back, then radios should be too.

Just going to leave this here...
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Old 08-19-23, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile
TLDR.
It wasn't illegal. Hence, no protests from people actually involved.
Wearing race radios in the front is fairly common, albeit not with the "padding" seen here.
If this provided a huge advantage, every team would be doing it, or complaining about it.
In short: not a big deal.
I'm going to guess that we'll start seeing it more, now that it has been done by 2 high-profile riders in a high(ish)-profile event. It will then probably evolve into "I need more padding for my radio for more safety".
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Old 08-20-23, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by chadteck
Right. So why are there not explicit rules regarding race radios if they are being exploited in the same manner as hydration was?
Should there be? Maybe.

Are there? No.

Will there be? TBD.

The beat goes on.

So does the dance of "I'm not accusing anyone but look at these two violating what should be a rule." I already said it's a fair ask. If not an accusation. Whatever.
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