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UCI clamps down on pin-less aero number pockets for Tour de France

NMES FRANCE JULY 08 Tadej Pogaar of Slovenia and UAETeam Emirates Yellow Leader Jersey at start during the 108th Tour de France 2021 Stage 12 a 1594km stage from SaintPaulTroisChateaux to Nimes BIB Number Detail view LeTour TDF2021 on July 08 2021 in Nmes France Photo by Chris GraythenGetty Images
Tadej Pogacar's race numbers at the 2021 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Aerodynamic race number pockets will not be permitted in the Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes this year, with the exception of the time trials. 

The UCI has written to teams requesting they do not use such technology on the grounds that it reduces the visibility of rider numbers, as stipulated in the governing body's regulations. 

Riders in the men's and women's Tours this summer could therefore have to revert to fixing their dossards to their kit using safety pins. 

"The UCI kindly request that during road stages rider numbers are fixed on the outer layer of the jersey/skinsuit and not placed in pin-less number fixation systems/pockets," read the letter from the UCI's head of road and innovation, Mick Rogers, published by Cyclingtips (opens in new tab) after being sent to teams on Friday.

In recent years, sticky-backed numbers have been introduced at the Tour de France but safety pins are still commonly used. In a bid to counteract any potential flapping or crumpling, several companies have manufactured pockets that the dossard can be slipped into. 

Certain teams use a mesh pocket that attaches over the pockets on the rear of standard jerseys, while NoPinz have developed the 'Speedpocket' that sticks on and presents the numbers through a clear window. 

A helicopter shot of pro cyclists

Focussing on the two Jumbo-Visma riders in this image, you can see the difference between the visibility of the numbers (Image credit: Getty Images)

However, the UCI claimed it has heard complaints from various stakeholders in the sport over visibility, and has told teams their use at the Tour would go against existing UCI regulations.

"The UCI acknowledges this requirement may not be ideal for many of you as the benefits of such fixation systems/pockets provide an elegant and aerodynamic solution," read the letter. 

The governing body made clear the rule only applies to road stages and that pockets will still be allowed during individual time trials, on the opening and penultimate days of the Tour de France.

It also added that it was open to working to find a solution for pin-less number systems in the future.

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