Victor Campenaerts has called the UCI’s decision to make a rule banning inward-facing brake levers in 2024 “bullshit” and he believes riders will simply use loopholes to achieve a similar position with flared bars.
The Belgian breakaway specialist was one of the obvious riders going to be affected by the rule alongside Jan-Willem van Schip as they pushed regulation limits to make any aero gains possible.
For now, no exact degree of maximum angle has been set by the UCI, but the wording in the statement they announced the ban in last month uses the phrase “extreme inward inclination,” as the only line, also without information whether it will be at the relevant race commissaire’s discretion. Campenaerts was also against the ambiguity of the new rule.
“It’s quite difficult. Because the rules are very unclear,” said Campenaerts to Cyclingnews ahead of Lotto-Dstny’s 2024 team presentation.
“It seems like if you want to, you can ride with beach race handlebars and still ride with your brake levers like this [gestures to angled hand placement]. It makes no sense at all.”
The beach race handlebars Campenaerts refers to are flared bars similar to that seen on many gravel bikes and would allow the brake levers to be angled inwards while remaining in parallel with the drops. These bars are less commonly available at narrow widths, but custom narrow and flared options could become a trend in 2024 for riders who request them.
“I do understand that people think, or see the danger of riders riding with brake levers like this, but it was not banned for a long time. Now they ban it but they also don’t ban it,” said Campenaerts.
“I think the result will be that we will see a lot of beach racing handlebars in the peloton to just get around the rule. To me, it’s simply a bullshit rule.”
Ambitions for the 2024 Classics with Arnaud De Lie
The highlight of Campenaerts’ 2023 season was taking home the super combativity prize at the Tour de France after brutally attacking the final few stages in the break and almost single-handedly ensuring the four-man group on stage 18 had the best chance of beating a charging peloton into Bourg-en-Bresse.
His teammate Pascal Eeenkhoorn was unable to best Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep) that day, but without Campenaerts riding himself into the ground in the final few kilometres, their efforts would have been futile.
Campenaerts is aiming at returning to the Tour in 2024 by being in such fine shape that Lotto-Dstny…