UCI officials have started the season off in earnest, making sure brake levers aren’t too tilted – but maybe they should focus their energy on other things? At the Santos Tour Down Under, commissaires have been seen using measuring devices to check the angle of levers on bars.
In November, the governing body expressed its proactive stance toward tackling inventive techniques utilized by cyclists to optimize aerodynamics on their bicycles. To address safety apprehensions, the UCI clarified its rationale for implementing clear-cut regulations concerning the excessive inward tilt of brake levers.
According to the international regulatory body, the notable inclination of levers not only impedes the braking efficiency of riders but also constitutes a modification that surpasses the intended usage of the product.
But there are a few significant things that the UCI might want to focus on, and three, shall we say, less important items.
1. Dangerous conditions
In 2023, there were plenty of sketchy races. In the initial team time trial stage of this year’s Vuelta a España, attempts to have riders cross the finish line during the dusk hours were thwarted by a heavy downpour. Consequently, teams finished the stage under pitch-black conditions. Riders, including Remco Evenepoel, were highly critical of the hazardous conditions.
The Tour Féminin des Pyrénées’ second edition came to an abrupt end in June when the UCI finally intervened to cancel the event. This decision was prompted by the withdrawal of multiple teams citing safety concerns. But why did it even get that far? Shouldn’t the UCI been on that before it went south?
On June 15, 2023, during stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse, Gino Mäder fell while descending from the highest point of the stage at Albula Pass towards La Punt. His death would spark a bigger conversation about what organizers could do. Although some measures have begun–including safety nets and padding on descents and corners, many believe added pressure is needed to ensure rider safety.
Quinn Simmons of Lidl-Trek recently expressed the view that the UCI is investing time in minor issues like brake levers rather than addressing more significant matters.
“It will have changed no safety at all now that my levers are three centimeters out; it just makes it more uncomfortable for me. But in the end, it’s the new rule, and we have to play…