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Dowsett calls for UCI rule change to improve time trial bike safety

Camp Israel 2021 Noa Arnon Dowsett Israel Start Up Nation
Alex Dowsett has his say on time trial safety (Image credit: Noa Arnon/Israel Start-Up Nation)

Alex Dowsett has suggested the UCI should change its rules regarding the set-up of time trial bikes in order to make them safer to train and race on. 

The dangers of the riding position on time trial bikes were laid bare by Egan Bernal’s recent crash in Colombia, while the issue as a whole has ignited in the wake of Chris Froome’s suggestion that the sport should rid itself completely of time trial bikes.

Froome, who posted his comments on YouTube, has now had a response from his Israel-Premier Tech teammate and fellow vlogger Alex Dowsett. As a time trial specialist, the British rider was understandably in disagreement. 

"Personally, I don’t think we need to ban time trial bikes," Dowsett said. 

"What then happens to the team time trial, which is regarded by a lot of people as one of the most impressive things they watch within cycling? If we were to race time trials on road bikes, not much would change. Ultimately, it would just be slower speeds."

Dowsett, who takes a keen interest in aerodynamics and time trial tech, chose to focus on the so-called ‘head-down’ riding position, which has been classed as dangerous by a number of pros, including Tom Pidcock. Dowsett suggested that the current UCI technical regulations are causing this, and argued that they should be relaxed. 

As it stands, the critical rule places a limit on the height of handlebar extensions, which is 75cm from the bottom bracket - or 85cm for a rider above 190cm in height. 

"A major part of aerodynamics is closing the gap between your hands and your head," Dowsett explained. 

"At the moment, because of this UCI rule, we are having to bring our head to our hands, and then to try and look up becomes massively difficult. 

"If that rule were to be relaxed and we were allowed to bring our hands actually up to our heads, I think that could help with so much of the head-down riding we’re commonly seeing, and improve safety."

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