World cycle racing's governing body the UCI has announced a new rule on the shape, mounting location and capacity of drinking bottles starting 1st January 2013.
Julien Carron the UCI's 'Coordinateur Technologique' has told manufacturers in an email seen by BikeBiz that UCI race commissaires will be checking bidons from that date, commenting, "the positioning and dimensions of bottles used during competition are the subject of a change of the regulations that was approved by the Management Committee in September."
The new rule Article 1.3.024 will only allow bottles to be positioned on the down tube and seat tube. Mounting bottles behind the saddle, on the stem or in any other position will be prohibited and furthermore must not be integrated with frames, meaning that there must be a space between the bottle and the tube to which it is attached. The new rule specifies bottle dimensions to avoid empty bottles being added for aerodynamic reasons.
"The rule also improves the rider's ability to access and grasp the bottle," said Carron. "The capacity is also specified in order to guarantee that bottles are used for rehydration purposes and to prevent any deviations."
The wording of article 1.3.024 is as follows:
"Bottles shall not be integrated to the frame and may only be located on the down and seat tubes on the inside of the frame. The maximum dimensions of the cross-section of a bottle used in competition must not exceed 10 cm or be less than 4 cm and their capacity must be a minimum of 400 ml and a maximum of 800 ml."
Carron comments in his email, "Bottles have been increasingly moving away from their original function of allowing riders to rehydrate towards an alternative use as aerodynamic elements which are integrated into the design of frames in order to improve riders' performances. It has become essential to regulate the positioning and dimensions of bottles in order to avoid any future deviations and to return bottles to their principal function."
The Curse of Cadel Evans's Tilting Saddle
While they're about it, the UCI has also reminded manufacturers that they'll be enforcing the existing Article 1.3.014 from this coming March 1st. Surely you don't need reminding of last year's drama at the Tour de France where commissaires incurred the wrath of eventual winner Cadel Evans in criticised the angle of the saddle on his BMC time trial bike?
As with the forthcoming bottle rule, saddles will be checked for level at all WorldTour, World Cup events and World Championships for road, track and cyclocross and a measuring device will be issued to UCI commissaires for the purpose. There has, however, been an element of tolerance introduced.
According to Julien Carron, "As a result of many discussions and comments concerning Article 1.3.014 on the horizontality of the saddle, the UCI has decided to clarify the situation by introducing a tolerance to the measurement of the saddle angle. To determine the value of this tolerance, the UCI has taken into account many measurements recorded in competition, numerous scientific articles published on the subject describing biomechanical issues as well as discussions with several saddle manufacturers."
Carron wrote, "the concept is to grant the rider sufficient freedom to allow a comfortable position to be adopted, reducing the pressure on the perineum, while avoiding any deviation through an excessively sloping saddle that could improve sporting performance to an unacceptable degree by the addition of a lumbar support."
Citing safety concerns, Carron added, "If the saddle is inclined too severely, this reduces the quality of the rider’s position on the saddle, thus reducing its intrinsic function of providing a basic support for the rider on the bicycle."
Carron said the device would measure, "the angle of incline of the saddle, considering the plane passing through the highest points at the front and rear of the saddle. This angle must be less than 2.5 degrees with an error tolerance of 0.5 degree. This means that if the measurement taken during the check exceeds ±3 degrees, the saddle must be adjusted."
He concluded, "The measurement of the horizontality of saddles must be a simple, fair and repeatable process. The tolerance of 3 degrees gives the rider a lot more freedom to adjust his or her position on the bike compared to the previous interpretation of the rule."