The International Cycling Union (UCI) has revealed the scientific research behind the changes in the regulations for individual time trial races, marked above all by the change from 10 to 25 meters in the minimum distance for vehicles following the cyclist. .

“This new rule aims to ensure that the results of time trials are not influenced by the proximity of the rider to the vehicle that follows him and, therefore, guarantee the sporting fairness of the competition and increase the safety of the rider,” the ICU said.

The changes were made after research from the University of Eindhoven established that placing vehicles close to the cyclist can modify the airflow around the cyclist and “potentially lead to a gain of advantage for the cyclist.”

The researchers found that a car traveling 10 meters behind gives the cyclist a 0.05 second per kilometer advantage when traveling at 46.8 kilometers per hour, the typical speed achieved in time trials.

The advantage became negligible at 15 meters, but after consultation, it was decided to extend the prescribed distance between the vehicles and the driver to 25 meters.

This was also done to ensure greater passenger safety by allowing vehicle drivers longer reaction times in the event of unexpected incidents.

Other convoy vehicles, such as marshals, regulators, TV motorcycles, and photographers, may stay closer, but must stay out of the direct wake of passengers.

Stricter rules on dangerous driving have also been introduced. Photographers will also be held responsible for the actions of their motorcyclists, and dangerous actions will be subject to a fine and suspension of up to seven days for the photographer, an alteration to previous rules that only penalized the motorcyclist.

The regulations have also been modified to allow the adjustment of time trial handlebar extensions.

“The objective of the new regulation is to provide cyclists with greater stability and safety while maintaining an aerodynamic position,” explained the UCI.

By Philip Barker,