Each year the UCI introduces new rules or alterations to existing regulations, but one new introduction for 2019 is sure to have a big impact on professional cycling as the governing body puts its foot down on the ever growing height of riders' socks.
Rule 1.3.033 previously stated, "The socks and shoe covers used in competition must not extend above the middle of the leg", but such a vague measure allowed for a wide range of interpretation, ranging from mid-calf to almost knee-high.
In the amendments introduced on October 15, 2018, the UCI clarified: "Socks and overshoes used in competition may not rise above the height defined by half the distance between the middle of the lateral malleolus and the middle of the fibula head", and included a graphic demonstrating how to measure the maximum height.
There is no word yet if the riders will have to step into a jig before starting races to have their socks measured.
Speaking of jigs, the UCI also further refined the rules for time trial bikes, specifying the arm extensions for road time trial and track pursuit bikes must be in two parts, and there can only be elbow rests if there are also extensions. The rest can be only 12.5cm wide or long, and can only incline 15 degrees. There can only be a 10cm rise or drop between the elbow rest and the end of the extensions.
Other changes to rule 1.3.033 will come into effect on March 4, 2019 as the UCI introduces a re-write to the portion pertaining to aerodynamic fabrics.
Previously, the rules restricted the use of clothing "designed to influence the performances of a rider such as reducing air resistance or modifying the body of the rider (compression, stretching, support)".
In 2017, Chris Froome's 'vortex' suit with aerodynamic texture raised some controversy. The new regulations appear to address the use of the fabrics by limiting changes in profile to one millimetre at most.
However, the rule states the roughness of the fabric "may only be the result of threading, weaving or assembling of the fabric."
Furthermore, the UCI says "All clothing must maintain the original texture of the textile and may not be adapted in a manner to integrate form constraints. Therefore, when not worn, clothing may in no case contain any self-supporting element or rigid parts."
The UCI also appears to get tougher on former dopers returning to the sport as staff members, introducing effective October 1, 2018 new language restricting staff, riders' agents or doctors or medical assistants from obtaining licences if they have "been found guilty or complicit" of anti-doping rule violations such as trafficking or administering prohibited substances.
Licences for general managers, team managers, coaches, sport directors, mechanics, drivers or any other licenced logistical or technical position may not be granted to anyone found guilty of intentional anti-doping rule violations. However, this group can obtain an exception if five years has lapsed between the end of the suspension of the individual's last rule violation.
There are other exceptions for current licence holders to whom the conditions might apply, allowing them to be licenced under the previous rules.
Rule 1.1.006 bis states:
"This article, in its current version, shall apply to all licence applications made after its entry in force. As an exception, the previous version of this article shall be applied whenever any of the offences taken into consideration occurred at least partially before its entry in force and, based on the principle of Lex Mitior, the assessment would be favourable to the applicant.
"As an exception to the above, the waiting period of 5 years to be observed in situations referred to in points 3 and 4 above does not apply to persons having signed an acceptance of consequences with the UCI before the adoption of the present article."
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