TIME TRIAL JERSEYS: Tension is bubbling over jerseys worn by the British team on the opening time trials.
The issue came up after two days on the Tour de France. Complaints suggested the bubble design boosts aerodynamics and is against cycling rules.
Four riders from Team Sky were in the top eight of the opening time trial. Geraint Thomas took the yellow jersey as race leader at that point.
So what is all the tension about and why is the friction bubbling over?
The anxiety centers on tiny bubble pads seen on the upper arms on the cycle jerseys. Being more specific, it was the jerseys of a handful of Team Sky riders – including Chris Froome.
The International Cycling Union regulations are clear. UCI rules state:
“Garments must not be adapted in any way such that they diverge from their use purely as clothing. The addition of any non-essential element or device to clothing is prohibited.”
The View of the Race Jury President
The race jury president said it is an actual part of the jersey and it was not added. The team sports directors also checked the jerseys and said nothing was added to the shirts. Despite all this, some of the rival teams remained unhappy with the view of the race jury.
It appears several rival teams complained about the Team Sky jerseys. More than two teams made the complaint ahead of the 203.5-km ride to Liege.
The performance director at Française des Jeux team was even more vocal. He said:
“It is enhanced aerodynamics and the regulations forbid it. According to studies, the estimated gain is about four to seven percent. It’s huge.”
The Italian coach at BMC Racing was a little more reticent. He believes the ‘equipment‘ is on the borderline with cycling rules. But, if it’s judged compliant with Tour de France regulations then he will accept it.
Team Sky: Bending the Rules of Cycling?
Without doubt, there are some who believe Team Sky are bending the cycling rules. But, the French sports director said they were working within the regulations.
He said other teams have also been using the same type of jersey. In fact, he said many of those using it were ‘big teams‘. The Frenchman then went on to say:
“It’s legal. Everybody knows the rules. It does not give you a big advantage but it’s those little things… so why not use them?”
Despite all the claims and bubbling tensions, it seems everything has been validated. It would appear risky for any team to cheat and lose everything on the first time trial day.
Abiding by the rules of cycling is the name of the game. The Tour de France, and cycling as a sport, needs every team to work within those rules.
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