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Rider thrown off Baloise Belgium Tour for using illegal handlebars allowing him to rest his arms on them

Commissaire allowed Jan Willem van Schip to start stage with controversial set-up, but UCI later disqualified him

“We are going to write history” tweeted Beat Cycling yesterday morning ahead of its rider Jan-Willem van Schip using Speeco’s Aero Breakaway Bar (ABB) in competition for the first time at the Baloise Belgium Tour – and indeed they did, but not in the way the Dutch UCI Continental team would have expected, as the rider was promptly thrown out of the race after the governing body ruled that the handlebar set-up was illegal.

Designed specifically for van Schip, the team cleared the use of the handlebars with a UCI commissaire prior to the start of yesterday’s Stage 3 of the race.

> Speeco causes a stir: new aero optimised road handlebars with forearm rest launched

The 26-year-old Dutch rider – a track specialist who has twice won silver in the Omnium at the world championships – promptly got in the break and won the day’s combativity prize.

But after the stage, the UCI’s technical committee reviewed TV footage and ruled that the handlebars contravened new rules introduced on 1 April aimed at improving rider safety such as banning the ‘supertuck’ position and riding with the hands draped over the top of the hoods, as used to be seen regularly in breakaways or at the head of the peloton.

The relevant new regulation in this case provides that “using the forearms as a point of support on the handlebar is prohibited except in time trials.”

Reacting to the decision to disqualify him from the race, his team said on Twitter: “Beat Cycling has learned with great surprise of the disqualification of Jan-Wllem van Schip in the Baloise Belgium Tour after the third stage.

“The disqualification is based on the ABB handlebar that Jan-Willem used during the stage and which, according to the UCI statement, are allowed.

“We do not understand this decision. Since the launch of the ABB handlebar, we have been discussing this with the UCI. Never the UCI informed us that the handlebar would not be allowed.

“The UCI has also seen no need to accept the offer of the developer of the ABB handlebar to further investigate the admissibility.

“On the morning before the start of the third stage, we even discussed our intentions to ride with the handlebar with the UCI commissaire on site,” it said.

“Here we got the green light to start with the ABB. The UCI has not made any reservations about this.

“Beat believes that the disqualification is unjustified and that Jan-Willem van Schip is seriously affected,” it added.

When the handlebars were launched in December, there were immediate calls from some pro cyclists for them to be banned, including the Trek Segafredo rider, Ryan Mullan.

The Irish rider, who is taking part in the Baloise Belgium Tour, tweeted after yesterday’s stage, criticising the decision to allow the Beat Cycling rider to race with the ABB handlebars.

One of the replies to his tweet highlighted a UCI presentation from earlier this year that, in providing examples of banned positions, included a photo of van Schip himself riding with the now-banned set-up, released when the handlebars were unveiled in December.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Global Nomad | 2 years ago
1 like

whats the point in having a UCI commisioner at the race if his judgements carry no meaning....UCI should have banned them in future rather than undermining trust in process. I think the bar company, team and rider probably knew they were on dodgy ground but the publicity was worth it....agree that the design looks a bit bodged and good be better

Tinbob49 | 2 years ago

Seems clear to me. Allowed to have the handlebars on the bike. Not allowed to use them as intended with foreams resting on them.


It's totally bonkers but also logical. Entirely in keeping with UCI

MattieKempy | 2 years ago

I dont like the bars (though I do like the concept) as they look ungainly, but if, as is supposed to be the case, the bars were approved by the Commissaires before the race, it seems harsh, even by the UCI's opaque standards, to then disqualify the Van Schip for using them!

mdavidford replied to MattieKempy | 2 years ago

There's no basis for the commissaires to ban them from starting the race with the handlebars, since the rule doesn't say anything about handlebar design - only about what part of you can form the contact point. If you want to start with those bars and make sure that you only put your hands on them, that's up to you. If you decide to rest your arms on them, though, you're breaking the rule and can expect to be kicked out.

mattsccm replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago

Wonder if they will ban all those riders who rest their forearms on normal bars?yes Bloody useless.

mdavidford replied to mattsccm | 2 years ago

Yep  - that's exactly what they are doing (not banning them exactly, but kicking them out of races).

Jaap replied to MattieKempy | 2 years ago

It's just like the top tube ban. All riders start events with top tubes on their bikes, just as soon as they sit on them they get penalized. 

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