Jan-Willem van Schip has been booted out of the Baloise Belgium Tour by the UCI after the governing body deemed his Speeco Aero Breakaway (ABB) handlebars, which he has used previously, run afoul of technical regulations.
Van Schip and his BEAT Cycling team claim that the UCI had never previously questioned the handlebars and that the team and Van Schip attained approval from the on-site UCI commissaire on the morning of the stage in question.
“We do not understand this decision,” the team said in a statement. “Since the launch of the ABB handlebar, we have been discussing 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. 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.”
The UCI updated a number of rules relating to hand position earlier this spring, at the same time it banned the Supertuck, among other changes. Those new rules banned “invisible aero bars” and deemed that the only three points of contact between bicycle and rider would be the hands on the bars, pedals, and saddle.
The rule states: “The rider shall normally assume a sitting position on the bicycle. This position requires that the only points of support are the following: the feet on the pedals, the hands on the handlebars and the seat on the saddle.”
The design of the ABB bars creates an additional point of contact at the forearms, a position that is expressly forbidden in the UCI’s technical documentation. In fact, the UCI even used an image of the bars in a recent technical presentation.
This doesn’t explain why Van Schip was given permission to run the bars by a UCI commissaire on the very morning of his disqualification, of course.
Van Schip helped develop the Speeco bars and has long been a fan of ultra-narrow bars in road racing.
CyclingTips has reached out to the UCI for comment but has not yet received a response.
This story is developing, check back for more.
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