UCI rule changes force Trek to reassess
On Friday Cyclingnews spoke to Trek Factory Racing team manager Luca Guercilena who refused to comment on Fabian Cancellara's Hour Record attempt after the UCI announced changes to the rules governing the record. However, Guercilena has stated in a team press release that any attempt by Cancellara has been suspended for an undetermined amount of time.
"At this point we need to assess the situation," Guercilena said. "We've invested many resources, both human and financial, to prepare for an attempt and we need to evaluate in which way, if any, we proceed. We are satisfied that the UCI has now stipulated clear regulations about the Hour Record, as there was already some speculation about it, but we need to examine what it means for our project, which so far has been focused on breaking the Merckx record."
The UCI killed off interest in the Hour Record in 2000 when they ruled that any attempts had to be done using a tradition bike, much like the one used by Eddy Merckx in 1972.
"This new rule is part of the modernisation of the UCI Equipment Regulation," UCI President Brian Cookson said in a press release announcing the changes.
"Today there is a general consensus that equipment used in competition must be allowed to benefit from technological evolution where pertinent. This kind of evolution is positive for cycling generally and for the Hour record in particular. This record will regain its attraction for both the athletes and cycling fans."
Cancellara announced last July that would tackle the hour record in 2014 either after Paris-Roubaix or the world championships although since then, no official date was set for when this would occur.
For both Cancellara and Guercilena, the attempt at the record was the only possible test of the four time world time trial champion against the likes of Eddy Merckx.
"For Fabian, the idea of attempting the hour had a historical motivation all along," said Guercilena. "The record of Eddy Merckx has inspired him to step into this project. It takes great character to contemplate fitting this feat into his normal race program. The nature of 'the hour' has changed now because the historical perspective has changed."
"The whole appeal of the hour record for me is that you are competing against riders from the past," Cancellara said. "I would have loved to race Eddy [Merckx] in the Classics, or in a time trial, but it's not possible. The hour record has this charming side to it that I like a lot.
Cancellara stated that due to the rule changes, he and Trek would now need to re-examine the attempt at the record.
"Now it's going to be different. I'm not against technological innovation, everyone knows that," Cancellara said. "It's why I spend so much time testing road bikes with Trek. And it's also why we've invested time and money in developing the best Merckx style bike."
"We had some plans semi-ready but right now we need to think about the whole project again. We will discuss everything within the team and with Trek."
The team stats that is supports the position of UCI President Brian Cookson to modernise the UCI Equipment Regulation and that "technological innovation has a place in cycling — it was Trek Bicycle's exact motivation to own a WorldTour team."
After the UCI announced the changes in rules, Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) has expressed his interested in the hour record.
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