UCI removes restriction on junior equipment, loosens TT position rules

Commissioners and juniors alike rejoice in the streets tonight with the news that the UCI plans to lift its arcane restrictions on junior equipment. Demands for “no more roll out” and “12-speed for all” were finally answered as new medical evidence emerged suggesting the 53 × 11 gear ratio does not cause self-destruction or implosion of the 17e’s kneecaps. 18 years .

The UCI regulation 2.2.023 currently provides: “During the men’s junior and women’s junior races, the maximum authorized transmission ratio is that which gives a distance covered per pedal revolution of 7.93 meters”. For most Juniors this has always meant a 52 sprocket in the front paired with a 14 sprocket in the back. However, the drivers of the recent Junior Paris-Roubaix are known to have reduced the gear ratio in order to be able to fit much larger tires for the Hell of the North.

Crush any equipment you want kids.

Gear restriction is believed to have been first introduced to protect the knees of cyclists under the age of 18, presumably deemed too fragile and underdeveloped to withstand the forces possible with a 53 × 11 or similar gear ratio bigger.

I’ve heard others suggest that the rule was introduced in an attempt to reduce junior race speeds, presumably because brains under 18 were deemed too immature to travel above 51km / h.

Both explanations seem equally weak as guys can still pedal at 50rpm on the steepest climbs in the smallest gear or freewheel in any gear at the highest speeds downhill.

Regardless of the original motivation, it appears that modern trends and a total lack of availability of “junior blocks” have forced the rule change, silently posted today on the UCI website.

Finding an 11-speed cassette with a smaller 14-tooth sprocket was already difficult, but finding a 12-speed version is seemingly impossible. Additionally, with the big three manufacturers now all 12-speed for the first two tiers of their group offerings and nearly zero backwards compatibility, finding a legal setup for junior racing was becoming increasingly problematic.

The lifting of gear restrictions means that finding a junior cassette is no longer a problem. From January 1st next year, kids are just like the rest of us, unable to find or afford a 12-speed cassette anywhere.

David Lappartient’s explanation of the reason for the rule change in his newsletter sent today by email to the national federations.

New position changes in the stopwatch

Other rules updated today include those governing time trial positions and it appears the UCI has listened to the concerns of the riders. The UCI has updated the old wording by dictating “the distance between the vertical line that passes through the axis of the bottom bracket and the end of the handlebar cannot exceed 75 cm”, increasing and further complicating the rule in one fell swoop.

Previously, the UCI had an overly simplified height threshold of 190cm, with runners measuring less than 190cm limited to the 75cm limit, and runners above this magic number could request a morphological exception to increase the extensions to 80 cm. The rule unfairly punished cyclists the closer they got to the 190cm threshold without exceeding it and rumors suggest the rule was abused by many neighbors, but not tall enough, at 190cm.

Now the UCI has, to its credit, created three bands of height, less than 180 cm, 180-190 cm and more than 190 cm. All three categories will enjoy a full 80cm extension from the bottom bracket to the handlebar end, with the 180-190cm movement having an additional 3cm to play with and riders taller than 190cm will be able to extend up to to 85 cm.

Additionally, the new rules now establish distinct maximum height difference limits from the center of the forearm support to the highest or lowest point of the aero extensions for each height category. The category less than 180 cm follows the current height limit of 10 cm, while the category 180-190 can now reach 12 cm. Taller runners get 14cm of elevation gain.

Take it? Done? Good.

Interestingly, the UCI has now removed the “elbow rest” from its regulations and replaced it with the phrase “forearm support” throughout, presumably to better reflect where most cyclists now rest their arms. It’s an interesting change if only because the old wording could have easily outlawed many time trial positions and aero extensions in recent seasons had the UCI decided to stick strictly to the regulation wording.

These upgrades are likely to be well received by most riders as they all get a little more extension to play with. The rules now better reflect the very different sized riders competing within the professional group. That said, anyone with an existing time record may not be too happy with the extra flexibility in aero positions and riders in the 190+ cm category still need to submit a rider height attestation application form available on the UCI website .

So far, so good. But wait, there’s more.

Neither of these new rules apply unless the rider mentions his height to the steward at the pre-event bike check. The old 75cm bottom bracket at the handlebar end and the 10cm height difference from the forearm support to the tip of the extension are now listed as “default horizontal distance” and “default vertical distance” measurements that will apply by the marshals conducting bicycle checks, unless otherwise informed.

A pilot who he thinks he needs to use a distance between 75 and 80 cm avails himself of a cyclist height block exemption, he must inform the commissaires panel when checking the bike. For clarity, the predefined distances mentioned above will be applied by the commissaires panel if the respective exemption from the height category is not communicated by the runner.

New UCI regulation which prevails over the other new UCI regulation, reintroducing the old UCI regulation unless the rider wishes to use the lesser new UCI regulation, in which case the rider must inform the steward that he does not wish to adhere to the old UCI regulation and instead wish to join the new but not the new UCI regulation. Very well.

As per the junior exchange rule, the new and new position rules come into effect from January 1, 2023.

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