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Giro d'Italia

VeloNews Mailbag: What do the riders think about litter zones?

Are riders at the Giro d'Italia still talking about the super tuck ban and litter zones? We field your questions.

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You have questions about the Giro d’Italia and we have answers! Well, we have educated opinions and access to people who have answers. Got a burning question on your mind? Email us at mailbag@velonews.com and we will pose your inquiry to pro riders, WorldTour mechanics, and other insiders. Today, we’re talking about the UCI’s controversial new rules that ban the ‘super tuck’ and also force riders to throw their bottles in designated litter zones. 

We all complain about our jobs. It’s just human nature.

Attend any corporate retreat or industry conference, and at some point you will find yourself amongst a group of fellow tired worker bees, criticizing the suits up in the C-suite for having enacted some corporate strategy that disregards the opinions of the little people. We’ve all been there, right?

Well, pro cyclists are no different. Instead of corporate retreats, they have WorldTour races. Instead of suits in the C-suite, they have team managers, race organizers, and the dreaded UCI.

Today’s mailbag question is in this vein. What’s the chatter in the peloton about those recent rules passed by the UCI that ban the beloved ‘super tuck’ and also limit riders to tossing their bottles in the litter zones?

It’s been more than a month since the UCI banned the super tuck and prohibited bottle tossing. Are riders still talking about this in the peloton or have they gotten used to it?

Jim Davis

You gotta toss your bottles in the green zone! Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Good question, Jim. From what we’ve heard, riders were pretty chapped when the UCI disqualified Richard Carapaz from Liège-Bastogne-Liège after he assumed the dreaded super tuck position for a few milliseconds. And we’ve heard plenty of comments about the new litter zones, and the demands from the UCI that riders no longer toss their bottles to fans along the road, and instead drop them at the zones.

Are riders still talking about these topics at the Giro d’Italia? I posed your question to Larry Warbasse to see what the chatter is inside the Giro peloton. Here’s what he said.

“Well, in terms of the super tuck, that is business as normal. Nobody is talking about that anymore. It’s annoying to not be able to sit on the top tube, but I cannot say that anyone is talking about it right now. 

The trash thing is really bugging people… The annoying thing is when you come to the last green zone of the day, it’s like bombs away, because everyone throws everything in their pockets away, which is all sorts of things: trash, plastic, and bottles flying everywhere. It’s really dangerous because there are bottles exploding, and stuff all over the road. On the other hand, when it’s not a green zone, people still throw [bottles] but they are scared to get in trouble, so they just throw it in the middle of the peloton.

The other day I’m just riding down the road and all of a sudden somehow I get a Coke can in my wheel, stuck between my wheel and my frame. So I take my bottle to try and take it out and it gets wedged and then my bike nearly comes to a stop in the middle of the peloton. It was actually really dangerous! Luckily nobody hit me. 

They tried to come up with a solution to make things less dangerous and it feels like it’s made it more dangerous.”

A UCI rule that has backfired? Get out of town! Larry’s comments echo a column that Andrew Hood wrote a few weeks ago about the unintended consequences of the bottle rule, and how it has transformed team soigneurs into janitors at the races, and made everyone worry about getting dinged for a bottle infraction. I hadn’t heard that people are actually dropping bottles in the middle of the bunch now on the sly. That’s bad stuff.

Hey, to follow up on last week’s questions about the gear choice for stage 11 with the gravel sectors, here’s some more info from Larry.

I will ride tubeless, 26mm, which actually measures 27mm, and my thought behind that was we had the option between 28mm tubulars or tubeless, and I’ve really been liking the tubeless. I’ve ridden them every stage other than one. They roll fast on flats, and it is flat at the start [of stage 11].” 

28mm tubeless Schwalbe Pro One tires plumped up to 33mm on the wide 3T rims. Photo: Ben Delaney | VeloNews