The peloton is pushing back against the ban of the controversial ‘super tuck.’
The UCI stated last week it intended to clamp down on the use of the top tube descending position as one of a battery of new safety measures ranging from improved course barriers to the conduct of vehicles in the race convoy.
After high-profile incidents involving inappropriate race furniture at the Tour of Poland and numerous incidents of motos or on-course vehicles causing danger to riders, the peloton has silently welcomed the governing body’s new safety initiatives – with one exception.
The ban of the “super tuck” position has caused a stir and led to several leading riders questioning the UCI’s priorities in protecting the peloton’s interests.
“It is nonsense about the UCI, it is something very silly,” Egan Bernal told Marca this weekend. “There are other things much more important that you should look at. We are competing many times in situations that are not right.”
Bernal is starting his build toward a GC bid at the Giro d’Italia at the Étoile de Bessèges this week. The race’s third stage Friday saw the bunch negotiating a high-speed downhill bend greased with oil.
“The stewards were going ahead and they could see it, even smell it,” Bernal said. “There are other things more dangerous and they should think again because not many riders are happy with this decision, and it would be good if they listened to the cyclists.”
Bernal’s teammate Michał Kwiatkowski similarly called for officials to reassess what comes first in safeguarding the peloton. The Polish rider, also racing in Bessèges, cited the ban on the now-notorious “tuck” and regulations about sock length as misplaced priorities on Twitter.
“Think about the real risks, like oil on the road,” he also wrote. “Don’t blame us for causing crashes. There is so much to do on safety and organization.”
So just before the stage I was answering questions about riding on the top tube. Please @UCI_cycling think about the real risks, like oil on the road today. Don't blame us for causing crashes. There is so much to do on safety and organization side of cycling… @Etoile_Besseges pic.twitter.com/3SV3dmOyDF
— Michał Kwiatkowski (@kwiato) February 5, 2021
Away from the French race, reactions have been similarly questioning in the wake of the UCI statement.
German veteran Simon Geschke (Cofidis), Burgos BH rider Willie Smit and cross-discipline star Tom Pidcock have all separately braced against the ban or argued that officials should focus their energies elsewhere.
Chris Froome has also taken to social media to comment on the measure, set to be imposed April. Froome’s descent from the Peyresourde at the 2016 Tour de France is one of the most notorious incidents of the “tuck,” in a move that saw the grand tour star plummet down the mountain pass perched on his top tube to score victory in Bagnères-de-Luchon .
Next they’ll be banning stem watching and elbows sticking out… 🤡🙈😂 pic.twitter.com/6iOyNXbwbL
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) February 5, 2021
The 35-year-old may be the most prolific active stage racer in the peloton, but at least he’s able to poke fun at himself.