By James Huang
Thanks at least in part to petitioning by current International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) president – and Garmin-Slipstream directeur sportif – Jonathan Vaughters, riders and teams at the Tour of California have weathered the UCI '3:1' tech rule storm, at least for now.
Though the official statement is still pending from Pat McQuaid later today, word among the teams is that the UCI now would not strictly enforce that clause until 2010 in order to give teams and manufacturers sufficient time to develop and test replacement gear.
According to UCI chief commissaire on site Josee Bevard, officials would not be disqualifying riders and equipment based on the updated ruling but rather would only be crafting a report on items that were not in compliance and sending it back to the UCI headquarters in Switzerland – the same as it apparently did during the opening prologue.
Strictly speaking, rule 1.3.024 isn't new as the 8x2.5cm cross-sectional dimensions and 3:1 maximum aspect ratios have long been in place. But the confusion surrounds the updated verbiage, which previously had been thought to only apply to frames.
The new text states that "a fuselage form" must have an aspect ratio no greater than 3:1 but does not explicitly specify what is classified as a ‘fuselage'. Based on written communication sent to teams from the UCI and obtained by Cyclingnews, those restrictions now also apply to ancillary items such as seat posts, aero base bars, and even crank arms, many of which adhere to 8x2.5cm guidelines but not the maximum aspect ratio.
Wheels are subject to their own set of technical rules and are not affected by the update.
While this stay is obviously good news for the riders and teams, other questions remain about how the UCI wields its all-powerful technical ruling authority: how are these rules decided and by whom? How much notice is given to teams and manufacturers before new rules are implemented? How much is open to interpretation?
Read the complete tech feature