Contador's time trial bike disallowed at Algarve
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Contador's time trial bike disallowed at Algarve

by Neil Browne at 5:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Alberto Contador has started the 2010 season just how he left off – winning. In his first race since the 2009 Tour de France, Contador took the victory as well as the leader's jersey in hilly stage 3 of the Volya ao Algarve. Saturday's stage is one for the sprinters and Sunday's stage 4 time trial, a 17.2 kilometer test, could be the place where the overall winner is decided.

With only a 15 second buffer between RadioShack's Tiago Machado and 28 seconds in front of Levi Leipheimer, Contador needs a solid ride to secure Astana's first overall stage race victory of the season. However, last night he received news that might put his chances for the overall win in jeopardy, his Specialized time trial bike has been disallowed by the UCI.

“Last night they told me I can not use the TT bike because the UCI has said it does not follow the rules and now I do not know what bike I will ride on Sunday. That's what worries me,” said Contador.

The bike at issue is the Specialized Shiv which has been used to great success in 2009 by Team Saxo Bank's time trial World Champion Fabian Cancellara.

The Shiv was designed in Specialized's “Project Black” department, the code name for pro team projects. The designs that come out of “Project Black” often don't make it to the showroom floor, but in the case of the Shiv it was approved and was showcased at their 2010 product launch. The Shiv was designed specifically for road time trials and has aero features such as a nose cone to shield the front brake from the wind and a narrow front profile to slice through the wind. At the launch, Specialized engineers were so confident in their design that they issued a challenge to any bike company to compare their UCI legal bike ProTour bike against the Shiv in a wind tunnel test of aerodynamics.

The UCI has stated that there are two pieces on the Shiv that are not in accordance to their time trial bike specifications. Specialized was contacted to clarify what those two pieces might be and how they run afoul of the UCI, but they have not immediately returned with a comment.

To fill the void Specialized has sent their Transition model time trial bike to the Astana team hotel in place of the banned Shiv.

Specialized told VeloNation: "The UCI has raised concerns regarding compliance of the Shiv and Transition bikes with rules pertaining to UCI sanctioned time trial competition.

"This is a highly technical issue and in no way pertains to safety or performance of these bikes, so production and sales will continue.
 
"We are actively working with the UCI to find a solution, but in the meantime Team Saxo Bank and Astana Cycling Team riders will not compete on Shiv bikes.  We are providing riders with modified Transitions."

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