Kwiatkowski against UCI's ban on super-tuck

Tour de France 2020 - 107th Edition - 19th stage Bourg-en-Bresse - Champagnole 166,5 KM - 18/09/2020 - Michal Kwiatkowski (POL - Team Ineos) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2020
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

While welcoming the UCI's attempts to improve rider safety within races, Michal Kwiatkowski is against the ban on the "super-tuck" position that the ruling body has said it will start to enforce in WorldTour events from 1 April. 

"That's just a way of putting responsibility for crashes on the riders," the Ineos Grenadiers rider said in Bessèges prior to the start of the third stage of the Étoile de Bessèges.

"There are lots of other things they could do first in terms of improving road safety, barriers. But riding on the top tube? Sorry, but I don't agree with that because at the end of the day we are professional racers.

"If they ban riding on the top tube now, then next year it will be putting your hands on the air to celebrate victory. They'll be bringing in speed limits and stuff like that. I think they should focus more on the organisational side of the races," said the former world champion.

Kwiatkowski did acknowledge that dropping down into the tuck on descents could be dangerous in certain situations. "If you do it in the middle of the bunch, obviously," he said. "But there are lots of things we do like that, such as drinking in the middle of the bunch when it's doing 60k's an hour, that's also a dangerous thing. But that's one thing we have to do, and riding on the top tube is another one of those things and I don't think they should stop us doing it."

Kwiatkowski was, though, supportive of the UCI's impending crackdown on riders throwing away bottles outside designated "green" collection zones. 

"I think that's a good safety measure, making it quite clear that we shouldn't just throw them away without thinking and possibly creating a risk for other riders. It will hopefully penalise those riders who do it without thinking of the other 100 people in the bunch behind them," said the Pole. "If some riders carry on the way they do now, just throwing them away, then excluding some of them will send a message."

However, he cautioned that riders shouldn't be penalised in those instances when a bottle might end up in the road unintentionally. "It's hard to judge why bottles end up on the road sometimes. It might be because you hit a very high speed bump, or maybe the road surface is not great and they bounce out of your bottle cage," he explained, adding that the UCI and race organisers also need to think about including more collection areas along race routes.

"There are green zones now where we can throw bidons and any other trash, and I think it would help if there were more of these zones where that stuff was collected. Because if we end up simply having to take bottles back to the team car then that just means we're adding another element of danger to racing," he said.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).