No motorhome for Sky as UCI issues new rule

The UCI issues a new rule to ban pro racers from using motorhomes in lieu of race hotels, such as the one Sky planned to use at Tour

The UCI has banned pro racers from staying in motorhomes at races, like the one Team Sky used to house Richie Porte during the Giro d’Italia, effective immediately.

The UCI Management Committee made the decision this week, voting to amend article 2.2.010. All riders will now be required to stay in their designated team hotels through the “duration of the race,” which must be paid for by race organizers.

Article 2.2.010 has been amended to read: “In all road stage races on the international calendar, the organisers must cover the subsistence expenses of the teams from the night before the start to the final day; riders must stay in the hotels provided by the organiser throughout the entire duration of the race.”

The penalty for breaking the updated rule is not listed, though if the UCI’s usual fine structure applies, teams could be fined up to 10,000 Swiss Francs per night. The UCI was not immediately available for comment on a specific penalty.

In a press statement, the UCI justified this change, saying, “The decision was made in order to reaffirm absolute fairness between all riders.”

Team Sky brought a motorhome to the Giro d’Italia for Porte, with the intention of testing the system for use in the Tour de France with team leader Chris Froome. The motorhome would provide a more controlled sleep environment, the team said, and might even help prevent Porte from getting sick.

“The whole point of bringing it here wasn’t for Richie Porte, Richie happened to be the guinea pig,” team principal David Brailsford said. “We are interested in sleep. It’s a big topic in sports science. We’re interested diets related to sleep and other factors related to sleep and recovery.”

Team hotels can vary wildly from night to night. Race organizers attempt to cycle teams through the nicer options, but there are few regulations surrounding hotel standards, and for every night in a four-star hotel there will be another in something decidedly less sophisticated.

Responding to the news on Twitter, some pro riders noted the lack of consistent quality standards at their housing in races.

Sky’s Chris Froome tweeted, “#FBF to that time I slept on the floor at the TDF.. More of that this year! Good going @UCI_cycling #progress,” and included an image of his spartan accommodations.