An improving Nick Nuyens falls foul of the technical jury in Suisse time trial
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

An improving Nick Nuyens falls foul of the technical jury in Suisse time trial

by Ben Atkins at 7:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Suisse, Injury
 
Saxo Bank Classics star forced to adjust previously approved saddle by a “crooked jig”

nick nuyensNick Nuyens (Saxo Bank) is making steady progress in his return from the fractured hip he sustained in the Paris-Nice prologue. After getting through most of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque, and completing the Tour of Norway, the 2011 Ronde van Vlaanderen winner lined up at the opening time trial of the Tour de Suisse yesterday. The Belgian took no risks around what was his first race against the clock since his crash, and finished in 67th place, 44 seconds behind stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

Nuyens declared himself satisfied with his performance, as he prepares for targets later in the season, but fell foul of the race’s technical commissaires, as they rigidly enforced a International Cycling Union (UCI) regulation.

“I had previously said I wouldn’t be pushing it,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “But eventually, when push comes to shove, you end up doing it. It was a technical course, and the course was wet on both Friday and Saturday, so I hadn’t trained on it on my time trial bike. I therefore decided not to risk too much in the prologue; the main aim was to stay upright.”

His main problem in the race though, was not the course, but an enforced last minute change to the angle of his saddle, when the race jury decided that it was not level.

“Look, this was my third time trial of the season [after the Volta ao Algarve and that fateful Paris-Nice prologue -ed],” he complained. “My bike has always been approved, but now suddenly I had to move my saddle upwards by half a centimetre; and that’s a lot, a real lot. I’d feel a millimetre difference, and that’s annoying if you’re riding uphill. I wasn’t stable.”

The problem, Nuyens claimed, was not his own saddle, but the equipment that the commissaires used to measure it. The new interpretation of the UCI regulation is supposed to allow for a 2.5 degree variation either way - with a 0.5 degree margin for error - but the Belgian’s bike apparently did not fit in with this.

“The new UCI rules say that the saddle must be flat, I know, but suddenly my saddle was not good,” he explained. “I don’t understand it. I think that the jury’s measuring jig was crooked, but they wouldn’t admit it.”

Aside from the technical wrangling however, Nuyens declared himself satisfied with his condition to date, and especially with his recovery from the hip fracture.

“I have no more trouble from my injury, and I feel my condition getting better every day,” he said. “I’ve been training hard the last few weeks, and I want to get myself through [the Tour de] Suisse in preparation for the Tour de France.”

While Nuyens is not expecting too much of himself in the Tour de Suisse, and is unlikely to feature at the top of the Tour de France classification, Saxo Bank may well come to rely on any late season points that the Belgian can accumulate, as it fights to justify its place in the UCI WorldTour.

Thanks to the retrospective suspension of Alberto Contador, and Nuyens missing the Classics season, the Danish team is currently rooted to the bottom of the classification with just 43 points. While the team has re-signed Contador for the end of the season, and the Spanish rider is the hot favourite to win the Vuelta a España, any points he collects will not be counted, and so the team’s other big names, like Nuyens, will be relied upon more than usual.

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