At the first WorldTour race since the UCI introduced a new regulation about the angle of levers on road bikes, 93 bikes were examined by cycling’s governing body and two were deemed “not compliant”…
– Story of video by Rob Arnold
Before the start of the opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under in Hahndorf two officials from the UCI were patrolling the team marshalling area. With a small new test jig in hand, Greg Griffiths went from one bike to the next to check no riders had angled their lever hoods in a position that is now considered too extreme for racing.
“We’ve checked all the bikes that are starting today and there were only two bikes that were not compliant,” Griffiths told RIDE Media just before the race started.
“Showing them what was required [to remedy the issue] both mechanics were quite pleased to change the bikes.”
Two out of 93 isn’t too bad considering the rule was introduced so recently.
The commissaire’s appraisal of the mechanics’ reactions would suggest that it’s only a minor detail, so negligible that changing a rider’s preferred position only minutes before the start of a WorldTour race is nothing to worry about.
Still, at this level of racing, making any tweaks to what riders are used to isn’t an ideal way to start the racing season.
Griffiths wouldn’t say who owned the two bikes that failed the new measurement test, nor did he explain exactly how far the levers had to be moved so that they were allowed to start the TDU. “It’s either right or it’s wrong,” he said.
If the lever hoods fit inside the jig, Griffiths simply moves along the line of bikes, repeating the process over and over and over again…
He was the first from any race jury to be given the task of checking lever hood angles and he got plenty of practise with the bikes of the women’s peloton.
On the weekend, he’ll repeat that process, but for the 140 bikes that will be raced in the men’s TDU.
Exactly what happens later in the season, when there are multiple bikes used for the varied terrain of the Grand Tours, for example, is yet to be seen. For now, we have seen the UCI’s commissaires in action and know that they are serious about enforcing the latest technical regulation, and doing so right from the start of the year.
For now, there are only three of the UCI’s latest testing jig in existence and all are present at the TDU. It’s a simple device that doesn’t appear to be complicated or expensive to build, but there will need to be plenty created in the coming weeks and months as the governing body prepares to roll out their tests at road races around the world.
– By Rob Arnold