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Time Trial Rules and Regulations

I realize this is a bit of a dry topic, but there are two points I'd be interested in discussing here to begin with that cropped up again in the Pais Vasco TT.

Firstly, a push by a mechanic following a planned bike change. Is there some regulation on this that it is limited to a certain number of seconds, or that it shouldn't be done uphill? It seems pretty regularly abused and a push, particularly on an incline, could be saving a rider around five seconds compared with if they had to accelerate up to speed themselves. For a mechanical a push seems fair enough - but for a planned switch, not so much.

Secondly, several riders today had the aero bars angled up quite significantly - not quite in the Praying Landis position, but kind of half way there (I noticed Izagirre and especially de la Cruz), but there could be more. Have the UCI relaxed the rules about this, or is it just a case of riders gradually pushing the limits until someone gets sanctioned for it?
 
I presume that any push at all is illegal, but like car-drafting, sticky bottles, handslings, pavement hopping etc, breaches are so widely ignored that the rule has no effect unless done to a ridiculous extent. They can't have a rule that says "Application of energy or momentum from an external force is banned, but it is really really banned in time trials", so the neglect of the rule is extended. The only thing I see in the time trials section of the rules is:
The following vehicle shall follow at least 10 metres behind the rider, shall never overtake him nor draw up level with him. In the case of a breakdown, technical support may be rendered only with the rider and vehicle stationary and the following vehicle shall not hinder anyone else.
but that is not really what we are talking about here.
 
DFA123 said:
Secondly, several riders today had the aero bars angled up quite significantly - not quite in the Praying Landis position, but kind of half way there (I noticed Izagirre and especially de la Cruz), but there could be more. Have the UCI relaxed the rules about this, or is it just a case of riders gradually pushing the limits until someone gets sanctioned for it?
The rules regarding handlebar extensions did change in recent years. It now permits a maximum of 10cm vertical height difference for the extensions relative to the point at which the elbows rest.

UCI rule:

1.3.023 For road time trials and individual and team pursuit on the track, a fixed extension may be added to the steering system; in this instance, the height difference between the elbow support points and the highest and lowest points of the handlebar extension (including gear levers) must be less than 10 cm. ...

So depending on the shape of the extensions and gearing system used (e.g. electronic v mechanical levers) you can get a bit of a upward slope with the forearms.
 
Re:

Armchair cyclist said:
I presume that any push at all is illegal, but like car-drafting, sticky bottles, handslings, pavement hopping etc, breaches are so widely ignored that the rule has no effect unless done to a ridiculous extent. They can't have a rule that says "Application of energy or momentum from an external force is banned, but it is really really banned in time trials", so the neglect of the rule is extended. The only thing I see in the time trials section of the rules is:
The following vehicle shall follow at least 10 metres behind the rider, shall never overtake him nor draw up level with him. In the case of a breakdown, technical support may be rendered only with the rider and vehicle stationary and the following vehicle shall not hinder anyone else.
but that is not really what we are talking about here.
Good point; I guess it's just one of those things that's tolerated to an extent and riders will continue to push the limits of what is acceptable until someone gets sanctioned for it. Certainly should be more tightly enforced for planned swaps in TTs than after mechanicals, imo. Or perhaps just change the regulations so you have to use the same type of bike throughout the course.
 
Re: Re:

DFA123 said:
Armchair cyclist said:
I presume that any push at all is illegal, but like car-drafting, sticky bottles, handslings, pavement hopping etc, breaches are so widely ignored that the rule has no effect unless done to a ridiculous extent. They can't have a rule that says "Application of energy or momentum from an external force is banned, but it is really really banned in time trials", so the neglect of the rule is extended. The only thing I see in the time trials section of the rules is:
The following vehicle shall follow at least 10 metres behind the rider, shall never overtake him nor draw up level with him. In the case of a breakdown, technical support may be rendered only with the rider and vehicle stationary and the following vehicle shall not hinder anyone else.
but that is not really what we are talking about here.
Good point; I guess it's just one of those things that's tolerated to an extent and riders will continue to push the limits of what is acceptable until someone gets sanctioned for it. Certainly should be more tightly enforced for planned swaps in TTs than after mechanicals, imo. Or perhaps just change the regulations so you have to use the same type of bike throughout the course.


not all teams especially lower level have multiple tt bikes for all riders though.
 
Alex Simmons/RST said:
DFA123 said:
Secondly, several riders today had the aero bars angled up quite significantly - not quite in the Praying Landis position, but kind of half way there (I noticed Izagirre and especially de la Cruz), but there could be more. Have the UCI relaxed the rules about this, or is it just a case of riders gradually pushing the limits until someone gets sanctioned for it?
The rules regarding handlebar extensions did change in recent years. It now permits a maximum of 10cm vertical height difference for the extensions relative to the point at which the elbows rest.

UCI rule:

1.3.023 For road time trials and individual and team pursuit on the track, a fixed extension may be added to the steering system; in this instance, the height difference between the elbow support points and the highest and lowest points of the handlebar extension (including gear levers) must be less than 10 cm. ...

So depending on the shape of the extensions and gearing system used (e.g. electronic v mechanical levers) you can get a bit of a upward slope with the forearms.
Ah right, thanks for the info. So it seems like they weren't breaking any rules then. :) De la Cruz in particular looked very pronounced; and he put in a very good time, so I wonder if it's something that Quickstep are looking to 'exploit' more than other teams at the moment. Or maybe it was just more comfortable for him.

Also I'd love to know how the UCI comes up with some of these parameters. I mean, 10cm is a nice round number, but why not just allow the full Landis position? It's not like aero bars are really in the spirit of the 'two traingles' philosophy that a 'bike must look similar to how a bike did 100 years ago' anyway.
 
Re: Re:

Billie said:
DFA123 said:
Armchair cyclist said:
I presume that any push at all is illegal, but like car-drafting, sticky bottles, handslings, pavement hopping etc, breaches are so widely ignored that the rule has no effect unless done to a ridiculous extent. They can't have a rule that says "Application of energy or momentum from an external force is banned, but it is really really banned in time trials", so the neglect of the rule is extended. The only thing I see in the time trials section of the rules is:
The following vehicle shall follow at least 10 metres behind the rider, shall never overtake him nor draw up level with him. In the case of a breakdown, technical support may be rendered only with the rider and vehicle stationary and the following vehicle shall not hinder anyone else.
but that is not really what we are talking about here.
Good point; I guess it's just one of those things that's tolerated to an extent and riders will continue to push the limits of what is acceptable until someone gets sanctioned for it. Certainly should be more tightly enforced for planned swaps in TTs than after mechanicals, imo. Or perhaps just change the regulations so you have to use the same type of bike throughout the course.


not all teams especially lower level have multiple tt bikes for all riders though.
True, that could be a limitation. I guess it would have to come down to a judgement call in that case as to whether a change was tactical or mechanical. Not so easy to enforce.

Probably better to just give the next rider who gets a push in a TT after a change a 30 second penalty - whatever the cause was. Perhaps it would be a bit harsh at times, but getting a push in a TT, whatever the reason, seems a bigger interference in the race than getting a push in a normal stage after a puncture.
 
Getting a push after a bike change isn't against the rules, in fact teams plan these bike changes at a moment a push has the biggest effect (i.e. on an uphill section). A bike change costs around 8 to 10 seconds anyway so not sure why it's such a big deal to have them minimize the additional time loss caused by getting up to speed again. It's not like a rider will go faster while being pushed than he will by cycling, except maybe when we're talking about Marcel Kittel on Zoncolan.
 
DFA123 said:
Alex Simmons/RST said:
DFA123 said:
Secondly, several riders today had the aero bars angled up quite significantly - not quite in the Praying Landis position, but kind of half way there (I noticed Izagirre and especially de la Cruz), but there could be more. Have the UCI relaxed the rules about this, or is it just a case of riders gradually pushing the limits until someone gets sanctioned for it?
The rules regarding handlebar extensions did change in recent years. It now permits a maximum of 10cm vertical height difference for the extensions relative to the point at which the elbows rest.

UCI rule:

1.3.023 For road time trials and individual and team pursuit on the track, a fixed extension may be added to the steering system; in this instance, the height difference between the elbow support points and the highest and lowest points of the handlebar extension (including gear levers) must be less than 10 cm. ...

So depending on the shape of the extensions and gearing system used (e.g. electronic v mechanical levers) you can get a bit of a upward slope with the forearms.
Ah right, thanks for the info. So it seems like they weren't breaking any rules then. :) De la Cruz in particular looked very pronounced; and he put in a very good time, so I wonder if it's something that Quickstep are looking to 'exploit' more than other teams at the moment. Or maybe it was just more comfortable for him.

Also I'd love to know how the UCI comes up with some of these parameters. I mean, 10cm is a nice round number, but why not just allow the full Landis position? It's not like aero bars are really in the spirit of the 'two traingles' philosophy that a 'bike must look similar to how a bike did 100 years ago' anyway.
All the rules are arbitrary, so the limits are set somewhere. Else they'd be riding aero faired recumbent bikes.

The previous rule stated that forearms had to be horizontal, which is actually fairly vague and difficult to define since an arm is a 3-dimensional object and horizontal is a property of a one or two dimensional object (and hence to apply a rule you need to then define a one or two dimensional object relative to the 3D object, e.g. a horizontal line must be contained by the forearm between the elbow and wrist).

Once you do that it become much more difficult to police, so by providing an on-bike measurement that's easy to do it makes the compliance job relatively easier for commissaires. That's not to say that such checks are always done or that everyone out there complies all the time.

10cm isn't a lot and means forearms will be roughly horizontal give or take a bit, which is probably what the tech commission was after, as well as some way to discourage set ups with more limited bike control.
 
Ion Izagirre:
20176025_364217_670.jpg


Obviously hard to say without measuring but this would be close to the limit. I couldn't find an image of de la Cruz at the TT.

This is something we test for when doing aerodynamics testing - to see if changing the tilt within the permitted allowance enables an aerodynamic advantage. Sometimes on its own it does, sometimes not but it can affect a rider's ability to "shrug" or "turtle" more consistently by relaxing shoulders/neck region which can provide a substantial aero benefit.

Try a little experiment for yourself - put arms out in front simulating a TT position. Try to roll shoulders in, tuck head down, "turtle" if you like. Now tilt your forearms up and see if it makes your shoulders more relaxed and able to roll in more and your head tuck in more. If it does, I can tell you from consistent testing it can be a big gain (1-2 seconds per km) for the duration you are able to sustain the position.
 
Re:

Netserk said:
Would be hilarious if anyone dared to do a magic spanner in a TT :lol:
It would result in a sanction (if caught) since it's not permitted.

Chapter IV INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIALS
2.4.023 The following vehicle shall follow at least 10 metres behind the rider, shall never overtake him nor draw up level with him. In the case of a breakdown, technical support may be rendered only with the rider and vehicle stationary and the following vehicle shall not hinder anyone else.

...

2.4.027 No equipment for the riders may be prepared or held ready outside the following vehicle. Persons riding in vehicles shall not reach or lean out.

Mind you, the following rules apply to road races and are often ignored, although there is commissaire discretion when it has involved a fall:
Chapter III ONE-DAY RACES
2.3.030 Whatever the position of a rider in the race, he may receive such assistance and mechanical check (brakes for example) only to the rear of his bunch and when stationary. The greasing of chains from a moving vehicle shall be forbidden. In case of a fall, the implementation of this disposal is left to commissaire’s discretion.
(text modified on 1.07.11).
2.3.031 No equipment for riders may be prepared or held ready outside the following vehicle. Persons riding in vehicles shall not reach or lean out.
 
Yes Alex, the UCI Rule 2.4.023 is actually the one that
was possibly broken by Contador's team car. At about
27.30 into his ride the team car briefly came alongside
him (they were most definitely not 10 meters behind).
I'm guessing his radio wasn't working and they were giving
him splits or updates.

They did stay several meters away off to the side, not
like in a road stage where they drive right alongside for a
chat or anything, but IMO it was an infraction of the letter
of the law. But I have no skin in the game, so I don't care
in this particular instance one way or the other...except in
general I like all the rules in the book to be followed and
enforced, or if not, changed so they can be followed and
enforced. (This rule is easy to follow and enforce, so I'm
not saying this particular rule needs to be changed.)
 
Re:

Alex Simmons/RST said:
This is something we test for when doing aerodynamics testing - to see if changing the tilt within the permitted allowance enables an aerodynamic advantage. Sometimes on its own it does, sometimes not but it can affect a rider's ability to "shrug" or "turtle" more consistently by relaxing shoulders/neck region which can provide a substantial aero benefit.

Try a little experiment for yourself - put arms out in front simulating a TT position. Try to roll shoulders in, tuck head down, "turtle" if you like. Now tilt your forearms up and see if it makes your shoulders more relaxed and able to roll in more and your head tuck in more. If it does, I can tell you from consistent testing it can be a big gain (1-2 seconds per km) for the duration you are able to sustain the position.
Thanks for that, interesting insight. Next time I go out on the TT bike, I'll definitely play around with it a bit. So it can be the effect on the position of the shoulders and neck, as much as the arms deflecting the air around the body, that makes the Landis position so effective? On a slightly unrelated note, with all the knowledge and time spent on perfecting aerodynamics these days (and, to me at least, its a fascinating subject) - it must drive team scientists crazy with how some riders don't take advantage. I'm thinking things like Cimolai's upright sprinting position, Purito's head up TT position, riders finishing races with jerseys flapping around etc...

By the way, here's a photo of de la Cruz at the finish line today; It looks well over 10cm to me. I guess the front on angle could be deceptive, but it looks almost a full on Landis style position. A short section of video here as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Os4eJL4iCrg&feature=youtu.be&t=670

delacruz.png
 

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