UCI investigating Frank Schleck's use of Camelbak in Criterium International time trial

Concerns that rider may have gained aerodynamic advantage on way to overall victory

by Simon_MacMichael   April 4, 2011  

Frank Schleck at the 2011 Tour de France Presentation © Simon MacMichael

The UCI is reportedly investigating Leopard Trek rider Frank Schleck’s use of a Camelbak hydration system during the closing individual time trial of the Criterium International last month, apparently due to concerns that he used it to gain an aerodynamic advantage over his rivals.

Schleck finished 12th in the time trial to clinch the overall victory with the sack containing liquid strapped to his chest and was cleared to start by UCI officials, reports Sports Illustrated.

According to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, using a hydration pack such as this can result in a rider gaining two seconds per kilometre as a result of improved aerodynamic efficiency.

UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani, quoted by Sports Illustrated, said: “An investigation will be launched, so we'll find out what exactly happened. We want to know if there was a breach of the rules.”

Some have queried why Schleck felt the need to use a Camelbak at all, given the short distance involved, but Leopard Trek spokesman Tim Venderjeugd claimed that everything was above board.

“We are surprised by all the buzz surrounding this,” he insisted. “This is not new, and Frank used the Camelbak's hydration bags to hydrate himself. Even during short time trials, it's important to drink.”

He added that the team had scrutinised UCI rules governing the use of such products prior to the time trial and they were happy that they had complied with the law.

“The system is allowed if it doesn't change the shape of the body, which was the case with Frank,” maintained Vanderjeugd. “And the aerodynamics effects are yet to be proved, otherwise everybody would use it.”

He added that Schleck had used the Camelbak strapped to his chest as a trial to work out whether he should use it in July’s Tour de France.

“We want to assess the system ahead of the big races, to see if it can be efficient,” he concluded.

11 user comments

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You don't need to drink on a 7 km time trial. Wouldn't you have it on your back if you wanted to hydrate? I think he was using it to make his chest more pointy!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1364 posts]
4th April 2011 - 16:23

1 Like

But didn't a number of riders use the vest type camelbak in TdF last year? I did wonder if the rule had been changed cos I know there was some controversy years ago saying that they were being used to streamline the body like a fin. When I saw them being used last year I assumed that the rule had been reviewed. I should have known though that the UCI would never reverse a rule that previously banned something new. So has this come about because someone from another team submitted a complaint?

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [393 posts]
4th April 2011 - 16:29


How do we know he did not blow air into it to change profile during the event, these guys don't do anything for nothing.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [978 posts]
4th April 2011 - 16:50


What I want to know is what Fränk had been sucking on just prior to that photo being taken? Something with electrolytes I'll bet.

posted by handlebarcam [529 posts]
4th April 2011 - 17:06


I find it shocking (and beyond belief) that these pro-riders and pro-teams would ever do such a thing in order to gain an advantage Liar I'm sure he just had a raging thirst Wink Still, if it was passed by UCI officials before the start, that's it, job done for the C.I. at least?

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
4th April 2011 - 18:41


Perhaps it wasn't an offical UCI 'stickered' camelbak? Thinking

posted by richiecoops [40 posts]
5th April 2011 - 7:30


What a load of arse. When I'm MTBing, I always wear a camelbak & I've never won a race, not even close.

posted by fennesz [97 posts]
5th April 2011 - 7:41


In the past Camelbak made a 'Racebak', which had the bladder on the back, smoothing air flow off the helmet and down the back. That was banned because of aerodynamic advantage, so Camelbak switched the bladder to the front. That design seems to have been used without prohibition by the UCI, but now they've spotted it my guess is that it won't stick around long.

posted by step-hent [696 posts]
5th April 2011 - 9:09


Didn't Ricco use one filled with his own blood?

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [413 posts]
5th April 2011 - 9:35


This just sounds like a press release from the camelbak marketing dept. I can see how the fin on your back could work, but how could it aid aerodynamics when strapped to the chest?- can anyone with a wind tunnel enlighten me?

posted by wild man [284 posts]
5th April 2011 - 13:13


I've just thought. It's a good job that I aren't a pro. With my belly the UCI would probably force me to have liposuction to reduce my aero advantage. And I bet my belly makes me a whole lot more aero than any Camelbak made so far! I wonder if I could sell my belly to one of the schlecks? Must be worth £250M surely?

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [393 posts]
5th April 2011 - 13:39