Few things light up the switchboard in the sport of cycling like a change to the rules. No matter how big or small, debate could rage for days in support of and against whatever is being proposed.
The UCI has decided to try and ban the ‘super tuck’ from professional racing, with riders caught descending on their top tubes first being admonished for the manoeuvre, and the punishment for repeat offenders potentially rising to a suspension from racing.
This is one of a number of measures cycling’s governing body is taking ahead of the new season following a 2020 where the issue of rider safety often flared up following numerous incidents during some of the biggest races.
“Yep that’s it, ban something that doesn’t cause any crashes, don’t worry about actual safety issues,” said Ribble Weldtite’s Jacob Tipper, the 29-year-old clearly not thinking the other measures announced by the UCI, including looking into changing the barriers used in bunch sprint finishes as well as rubbish disposal, are going far enough.
“Far easier to ban this than sort unsafe course design or inappropriate barriers,” added William Bjergfelt of SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, with Simon Geschke (Cofidis) sharing the same sentiment.”What about downhill sprints like the one in the Tour of Poland last year that nearly killed someone?”
Meanwhile, Ineos’ Tom Pidcock opted for brevity: “This is stupid”.
Others, such as Burgos BH’s Willie Smit, say the ruling doesn’t necessarily remove the danger of the position, and that riders may choose to instead hover just above the top tube in a very similar aerodynamic position.
“Yes but it states sitting on the top tube. One can easily get close to the same position without sitting on the top tube,” the South African argued. “And sorry for asking but how many crashes are caused by sitting on the top tube?! None that I’ve seen I think in my whole life…”
Those in the other camp include former Corendon-Circus rider turned youth coach Jens Dekker.
“My position (haha) on top tube descending has changed,” he said. “It’s still pretty safe, but after starting to train kids, and seeing a bunch of inexperienced twelve-year-olds sitting on the top tube going down a motorway bridge…yes, it should be banned purely as an example.”
“I’m actually all for the decision personally,” continued Dan Lloyd. “Yes, they’re pros, no, there haven’t been any major crashes because of this position, but there could be, and they’re taking action before that happens. Also, people copying on open roads – not good.”
Chris Boardman says he wishes the ban went further, and that riding with hands dangling over the front of the handlebars to gain an aerodynamic is also eradicated.
“I hope the measures also include banning riding with hands dangling over the front of the bars,” Boardman said. “Spanchi bars banned 25 years ago for safety but this practice hasn’t been. Ludicrous.”