The coach of former UCI Hour Record holder Alex Dowsett, Steve Collins, has spoken out against Bradley Wiggins' recent record breaking attempt, saying that it was done illegally. Wiggins set a new benchmark of 54.526km at the Lee Valley VeloPark on Sunday evening, significantly improving on Dowsett’s record of 52.937.
Collins, who helped coach Dowsett during his preparation for the event, claimed in an interview with BBC Radio Essex that the Pinarello Bolide HR Wiggins used for the even went against the regulations. "One of the sad bits about it was that Bradley's bike wasn't in production," he told the radio station.
"For attempts like that it should all be production available so you can buy it off the shelf. You can't get 3D-printed handlebars moulded to your own arms to make it easier for your own attempt."
Wiggins' bike was developed by Pinarello and motor company Jaguar, as was the case with their recent Dogma K8-S, and is modelled on the Bolide time trial frame.
Article 1.3.007 of the UCI regulations state that a bike "designed especially for the attainment of a particular performance (record or other) shall be not authorised." According to the UCI's rules, the bike must become commercially available within nine months of Wiggins' attempt. Although that doesn't mean you’ll be able to purchase it at your local bike shop.
A press release posted on the Pinarello website when the bike was revealed states that the bike was sanctioned by the UCI.
Collins was also concerned with the amount of support Wiggins seemed to have from British Cycling, the national governing body. Dave Brailsford and Performance Director Shane Sutton were both present, while recently-returned coach Heiko Salzwedel was the man at the side of the track for Wiggins.
"He also had the help of British Cycling which, well, is not allowed," said Collins. "It was a bit strange to see British Cycling, like Shane Sutton, getting so involved last night when he doesn't work for Team Wiggins, I'm not sure how that's allowed."
Collins believed it showed favouritism on behalf of British Cycling, but the governing body denied this, stating: "Sir Bradley Wiggins was helped by members of the Great Britain Cycling Team coaching staff with whom he is working in his bid to earn a place in the team pursuit squad for Rio 2016.
"All at British Cycling are extremely proud that British riders have broken successive records in one of cycling's most iconic challenges, something which we believe reflects the current strength of cycling in Britain."
Dowsett, on the other hand, doesn’t think that he suffered through lack of support from British Cycling. "I had massive support from my team and sponsors, so it was not something that crossed my mind," Dowsett told BBC 5 Live. "I had more than enough support from my own team."
Dowsett, who is currently racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné, believes that he could have set the bar higher during his attempt last month and is up for having another crack at the record.
"We ran a very conservative race and I could have gone faster," he said. "I would like to go back and see what I am capable of, whether that be next year or in eight years' time."