Pro Cycling

InSight | UCI Sport and Technical Update: issue 3

It’s been a while between drinks, but the latest ‘UPDATE Sport and Technical’ bulletin from the UCI’s Sport and Technical department once again provides some interesting snippets for cycling enthusiasts with an appreciation for finer detail about the machinery beneath, and behind, the peloton.

Uploaded to the UCI’s publications page last month, this ‘September 2012′ bulletin is the third, and last, for the year. If you’re interested in the technical and regulatory aspects of cycling, these updates are worth a read. The full bulletin can be downloaded here, and the first and second editions are also covered on this blog.

INSIDE THE BULLETIN
A quick summary for readers who are trying to figure out whether it’s worthwhile downloading the bulletin.

ROLE OF THE SPORTS DIRECTOR
A key figure in any pro road cycling team, the modern Sports Director (alternatively directeur sportif or ‘DS’) increasingly needs to possess the business nous of an executive as well as the tactical mind of a seasoned rider. Many professional riders choose to stay within the pro cycling bubble after athletic retirement, but may be ill-equipped to deal with the additional demands that personnel and organisational management brings with it. The UCI has offered training courses for existing sports directors since 2009 and has doubled its intake every year since 2010. Former pro Nicolas Portal, now a DS with Team Sky, is interviewed about his experience in making the change.

UCI WORLDTOUR SEMINAR
Who knew there was one? UCI WorldTour race organisers and teams will meet from 3-4 December at a currently-undisclosed location. It’s probably not on the agenda, but if ever there was a perfect opportunity for everyone to sit together after the scheduled meetings to discuss a breakaway league, this would be it.

2012-2013 TRACK CALENDAR
This is a much nicer-looking version than the clunky Track calendar on the UCI website. NOTE: the 2013 Asian Championships aren’t shown, but will take place from 14-17 March in Delhi, India.

THE 2ND ATHLETE’S COMMISSION
What happens when you put Pat McQuaid in a room with a group of 15 athletes from all major cycling disciplines? I for one am eager to read the minutes – if indeed, they are published – next week after the meetings take place; from 12-14 November at the UCI’s HQ in Aigle, Switzerland.

SEPARATE APPROVAL OF FORKS
Exactly two years after the UCI ‘Approval Protocol for Frames and Forks‘ was implemented, a separate approval procedure for forks will take effect. Currently, the frame and fork are treated as a single item when going through the approval process. From 1 January 2013, forks used in UCI-sanctioned events will require a separate ‘UCI Approved Fork’ sticker. This move is apparently designed to limit confusion for commissaires who are making pre-race checks on already-approved framesets that may have had the forks swapped out.

USE OF GPS AND CAMERAS IN COMPETITION
It seems some progress has been made on this topic since the last bulletin. There are suggestions for how GPS could be used to catch “sticky bottle” incidents, as well as the inference that it will first be trialled in WorldTour races. It’s encouraging to see the discussion about on-board cameras developing too. The UCI acknowledges there are no technical barriers to equipping some riders with HD cameras, but image rights are put forward as the next hurdle. Surely Sepp Blatter’s nephew has some suggestions?

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