In advance of Sunday's penultimate time trial at the Volta ao Algarve, the UCI has declared that Alberto Contador's Specialized S-Works aero rig does not meet specifications. Here's the jornalciclismo piece with the deets...
The Astana was informed by the International Cycling Union (UCI) that the machine Specialized S-Works has not been approved for competition. At stake is a piece on the connection between the tube perpendicular to the frame and fork. This piece makes the tube table is replaced by 9 centimeters instead of 8 centimeters regulations.
So basically there's a little connector between the head tube and the down tube that, when included (for wind drag reduction) increases the proper measurement of the down tube to 9cm, not 8. For the best explainer in the world (that I've seen) on what this is about, this Bikerumor article is mandatory reading. Complete with diagrams. Apparently the UCI is all about looking out for the little guy. Isn't that nice!
It's worth noting that Pistolero isn't the only cyclist of note riding Specialized. Saxo Bank (and Lampre and ISD and Omega Pharma) ride Specialized, and presumably they will take an interest in this ruling. World Crono Champion Fabian Cancellara was permitted to ride his Specialized S-Works in the Tour of Oman finale today, but from this picture Tony Spartacus
appears to be riding a less gadgety bike than Contador was on his road bike today, so the impact to his ITT rigs is beyond me. Anyone seen his 2010 machine yet?
The significance to racing should be minimal. Bike manufacturers are the ones under pressure, and if teams aren't careful they could find themselves having to scramble to find replacement bikes at a time when they'd rather be, I dunno, calmly prepping their ace rider for a time trial? Somehow I think guys like Contador and Cancellara will soldier on.