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Vittoria says Thomas De Gendt crash "unrelated to hookless rim design" and caused by "impact with rock"

Tyre brand insists UAE Tour crash ⁠— which prompted CPA riders' union to say it is "not happy" with increased use of hookless rims in the pro peloton ⁠— was due to "intensity of the impact" and not "compatibility issues" or "design"...

Vittoria has responded to criticism and concerns following Thomas De Gendt's crash at the UAE Tour last week, the tyre brand insisting that the incident was "unrelated to the hookless rim design" being used by the Lotto Dstny professional.

Eye-catching pictures of De Gendt's wheel post-crash did the rounds in the hours after the incident — the tyre and foam insert almost completely detached from the Belgian's wheel. However, Vittoria has attempted to clarify the cause of the crash, previously presumed to be a freak blowout, and said it was caused by "impact with a rock", not due to the "hookless rim design" or "compatibility issues among the components utilised by the team".

In a statement released on Wednesday lunchtime, a Vittoria spokesperson said: "In the aftermath of Thomas De Gendt's crash during the UAE Tour last week, there has been some discussion about the hookless system. It is crucial to clarify that the rim's failure resulted from an impact with an object, in this case, a rock, and is unrelated to the hookless rim design. The intensity of the impact caused the rim/wheel to break in a manner that prevented the tyre from staying securely in place. The force was so severe that it tore apart the tyre insert.

Thomas De Gendt crash, 2024 UAE Tour (Discovery+)

"It's important to emphasise that the accident was not a result of any compatibility issues among the components utilised by the team. The Vittoria Corsa PRO 28mm TLR underwent extensive testing on various hookless commercial wheels, including Zipp models (such as 353NSW). The compatibility was thoroughly validated through laboratory tests, outdoor field tests, and races, with official communication provided through the Sram website. As members of ETRTO, we consistently develop our products in strict adherence to ETRTO norms, encompassing both current ETRTO standards and 'Previous Standard Data (PSD)' ETRTO."

Vittoria referred to the "discussion" that came "in the aftermath" of De Gendt's crash at the WorldTour stage race, CPA riders' union president Adam Hansen stating that "there are a lot of people who want this banned out of the peloton".

> Pro cyclists' union "not happy" with hookless wheels after "freak" blowout causes Thomas De Gendt crash – but team defends tyre system as "100% within the rules"

"The CPA is not happy with riders racing on hookless system in the peloton. There have been concerns from riders and teams with this new system," Hansen wrote on social media.

Speaking to Velo, Hansen, who was teammates with De Gendt on the team between 2015 and 2020, said the riders' union was "100 per cent against hookless rims" and claimed that they could potentially cause a "mass crash".

"When you look at the images of Thomas De Gendt's bike, his tyre came off, the safety foam inside got caught in the fork, and that locks up the front wheel," Hansen said.

"Some teams are racing with hookless rims. This crash is why the CPA are 100 per cent against hookless rims. Tyres should not come off a rim. The maximum psi these hookless tyres can have put in them is 73, and if you hit something for sure it goes above the maximum 73psi rating on impact. That is why tyres are coming off.

Hookless rim Fast FWD - 1

> Tubeless wheel tech: What's the difference between hooked and hookless and which is better for you?

"We have heard from some teams that they have put tyres on before, they left them out in the sun and their tyres just pop off. But the manufacturers really like them because it is much easier to produce the rim, you need less moulds for this. The rims are much lighter, it is easier for production, so they are pushing for this."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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10 comments

Avatar
Larry T | 4 months ago
0 likes

This fiasco makes me ever so glad I'm no longer in the bicycle business. "Technology" is ruining everything.

Avatar
ooblyboo | 4 months ago
0 likes

I hit a rock once coming down the Cormet de Roselend. My front inner tube burst and the tyre deflated instantly. But it didn't roll off the rim and I just about got the bike stopped safely before I hit a wall of rock on the other side of the road on a corner. Had my tyre rolled off the rim, it's reasonable to expect that I would not have kept the bike upright. Does that make hookless rims a bad thing? Don't know but I am glad I didn't have to find out.

Avatar
Flintshire Boy | 4 months ago
1 like

.

So, some pros use AirLiners. Good to know that.

.

Avatar
Miller | 4 months ago
2 likes

I have a pair of wheels with hookless rims that I use for gravel rides with gravel tyres. No issues at all although my tyres are wide and run at about half that notional 73psi limit.

OTOH if a road bike hits a rock at race speed with road race tyres, well, the results are pretty random regardless of the tyre tech. Seemed a bit odd to me that Adam Hansen went off on one about this incident. It's one crash of questionable attribution among the many thousands of crashes that litter the professional race season. Doesn't seem the most pressing issue facing cycle racing.

Avatar
Larry T replied to Miller | 4 months ago
0 likes

Hansen loves to flap his yap or be a keyboard lion...but when it comes to any sort of action...he's not much of a leader.

Seems like pros who don't want to ride on this crap can (and should) demand the team provide something else. They can sticker-it-up to make the sponsor happy, just like they do with so many other products chosen because they work rather than who supplies them or writes the fat checks.

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lesterama | 4 months ago
0 likes

How many hooked tyres have blown off from similar impacts?

I still remember Van Vleuten's blowout at the world's in '22. That was hookless, right?

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wtjs | 4 months ago
4 likes

Yes, that negligent rider hit a rock!!! The b*****d! It's all his own fault!!

Avatar
Sedis | 4 months ago
2 likes

"The force was so severe that it tore apart the tyre insert."

These tyre inserts are glued together and do not require a severe force to fail at this point. I've had some come apart after a few months of commuting, without having any impacts that I was aware of.

Avatar
KDee | 4 months ago
4 likes

Hit a rock eh? Then hookless is no use for gravel I guess. Or anywhere where you might strike an object...say cobbles, or an imprefect road surface.

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visionset replied to KDee | 4 months ago
0 likes

KDee wrote:

Hit a rock eh? Then hookless is no use for gravel I guess. Or anywhere where you might strike an object...say cobbles, or an imprefect road surface.

And if it wasn't hookless, with that amount of force? It's still a big repair or a taxi.  Had plenty on both, there's no difference in real terms.

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