London’s Sunday Times footnotes a piece about Victoria Pendleton’s world title with the following news from the UCI:
From the end of this month, bicycles used on the track will have to be sold commercially and ‘at a reasonable price’ to be passed legal for major competitions, including the Olympics. The recent ruling, confirmed yesterday by Pat McQuaid, the Irish president of the UCI, has been aimed deliberately against the all-conquering British team
If true then this will have an impact on the British cycling team’s performances. Unique, custom built aerobars for example could now be rejected, the same for the frames. The UCI says the bikes will have to be “freely available on the open market at a reasonable price“, but what is the open market, a retail network or ebay? And what price is reasonable, should the profit margin be sensible or is it just a round figure, and in what currency?
I can see where the UCI are coming from given the contrast between the massive funding some countries get and the small winning margins, money does make the wheels go round. But remember that the bike is only one element, all that funding buys coaches, psychologists, nutritionists and so much more than just a carbon frame, it’s here where the real differences lie.
Once again the UCI introduces new rules that could only make the sport more complicated. Rules need to be precisely defined and enforceable.