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

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.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

11 comments

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 5 years ago
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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!

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 5 years ago
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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?

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antonio [1126 posts] 5 years ago
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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.

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handlebarcam [716 posts] 5 years ago
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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.

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simonmb [353 posts] 5 years ago
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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  44 I'm sure he just had a raging thirst  3 Still, if it was passed by UCI officials before the start, that's it, job done for the C.I. at least?

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richiecoops [40 posts] 5 years ago
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Perhaps it wasn't an offical UCI 'stickered' camelbak?  39

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fennesz [139 posts] 5 years ago
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What a load of arse. When I'm MTBing, I always wear a camelbak & I've never won a race, not even close.

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step-hent [723 posts] 5 years ago
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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.

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andylul [410 posts] 5 years ago
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Didn't Ricco use one filled with his own blood?

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wild man [297 posts] 5 years ago
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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?

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 5 years ago
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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?