One month until UCI saddle rules are enforced across all events
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

One month until UCI saddle rules are enforced across all events

by VeloNation Press at 6:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tech News
Spot checks can be carried out at WorldTour races

Specialize VengeIn one month’s time, the UCI will begin inspecting saddle angles on pro riders’ bikes, seeking to enforce a level saddle rule which until now has been most associated with time trials.

From March 1st the governing body will carry out checks at WorldTour events, World Cup events and road, track and cyclo cross World Championships, ensuring that all riders have saddles that are either horizontal or within a narrow range of deviation from that.

“This angle must be less than 2.5 degrees with an error tolerance of 0.5 degree,” the governing body stated in a communication sent several weeks ago to national federations. “This means that if the measurement taken during the check exceeds +- three degrees (positive or negative inclines), the saddle must be adjusted. “

The measurement will be carried out using an electronic spirit level with a long, wide base which will be placed on the saddle. It will be calibrated beforehand by placing it on the ground, thus avoiding error.

The rule about saddle angle was a controversial once when first introduced, as it required riders to have completely horizontal saddles on time trial bikes. The UCI stated that it was trying to prevent some riders from angling the saddle downwards and being able to push back against it, saying that they could gain an unfair advantage.

Many riders do tilt the saddle slightly, but this is done in order to relieve pressure on the groin area caused by the tuck position. They struggled to maintain comfort in their regular time trial posture if adjustments were enforced.

Medical professionals have expressed concern in the past that the pressure from saddles could affect the nerves in the area, leading to problems and possible impotence.

The UCI has now relaxed that literal zero tolerance stance, allowing some element of deviation. “The tolerance of three degrees gives the rider a lot more freedom to adjust his or her position on the bike compared to the previous interpretation of the rule,” it stated.

From yesterday, riders have one month to ensure that their bikes conform to the new standard, although the slight range of difference now introduced should see most being within those parameters.

“Ultimately the concept is to grant the rider sufficient freedom to allow a comfortable position to be adopted,” stated the UCI, “[by] reducing the pressure on the perineum while avoiding any deviation through an excessively sloping saddle that could improve sporting performance to an unacceptable degree by the addition of a lumbar support.”

The UCI adds that at events where the official measuring device is not available, standard spirit levels will be used and a maximum height difference of one centimetre between the front and rear of the saddle will be allowed.

The governing body said that it had studied scientific articles on the matter and spoke to several saddle manufacturers.

Tests have previously been carried out at events to ensure bicycles are at least 6.8 kilos in weight, saddles are not too far forward and, following rumours of tiny motors in frames, that riders are not benefiting from mechanical assistance.


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