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Rider booted from Baloise Belgium Tour for custom aero handlebars

Jan-Willem van Schip ejected by UCI after his Speeco Aero Breakaway bars ruled to break 'forearms on bars' ban.

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Another rider has become the victim of a strict set of measures imposed by the UCI earlier this season.

Dutch aero aficionado Jan-Willem van Schip (BEAT Cycling) has been booted from the Baloise Belgium Tour for use of his extra-narrow, lengthened Speeco Aero Breakaway (“ABB”) bars.

Van Schip’s custom handlebars have been deemed to fall foul of UCI rules forbidding the use of the “super tuck” and the “forearms on the bars” aero positions.

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“BEAT Cycling has learned with great surprise of the disqualification of Jan-Willem van Schip in the Baloise Belgium Tour after the third stage. The disqualification is based on the ABB handlebar that Jan-Willem used during the stage and which, according to the UCI statement, are allowed,” wrote the team on Twitter on Friday night.

“We do not understand this decision. Since the launch of the ABB handlebar, we have been discussing this with the UCI. The UCI never informed us that the handlebar would not be allowed. The UCI has also seen no need to accept the offer of the developer of the ABB handlebar to further investigate the admissibility.”

Van Schip’s ejection from the race Friday night comes after what the team states was conflicting messaging from UCI officials.

Before the stage, the Dutchman had discussed his “ABB” bars with a UCI official and was given the “all clear” to race.

However, van Schip became the focus of television cameras for some time when he rode into the breakaway on Friday’s stage, after which UCI HQ ruled the bars to be illegal.

“On the morning before the start of the third stage, we even discussed our intentions to ride with the handlebar with the UCI commissaire on site,” stated the team. “Here we got the green light to start with the ABB. The UCI has not made any reservations about this.

“Beat believes that the disqualification is unjustified and that Jan-Willem van Schip is seriously affected.”

It wasn’t just officials that had taken note of van Schip’s radical handlebar. Both Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) and Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Fenix) called out the bars after Friday’s third stage.

“Arms on top of the handlebar [banned], but this is okay? Please UCI Cycling do something with this,” Rickaert wrote on Twitter.

The ban on the “super tuck” and “forearms on the bars” positions were among a battery of controversial new regulations imposed by the UCI on April 1 this year, including tight new rules around littering and bidon-tossing.

The bottle-throw ban provoked a peloton-wide outcry that eventually saw officials relaxing regulations after riders were put at risk of immediate ejection from races for contravening rules.