AIGCP STATEMENT REGARDING UCI SADDLE INSPECTION
The continued goal of the AIGCP is to have productive relationship with the UCI. Our hope remains that the UCI will recognize our voice in matters such as the saddle inspection issue. With that said, the AIGCP members would like to make a few important points about saddle inspection:
1. While we believe we need regulations, the regulations need to be well-defined and consistently enforceable. This rule is not well defined and the measurements taken are not reliable or repeatable. The level device used on top of the riders’ saddles assumes that the bike is sitting level, but in actuality does not provide an accurate measurement, as riders use many different types of saddles – and placement on the saddle affects the measurement taken.
2. Trying to make a saddle 100 percent level is not healthy for the riders. It raises issues of prostate health and comfort. What could work would be a + or – 5 degree guideline. In addition, there is no proof that having a non-level saddle will lead to unsafe bike handling ability.
3. The UCI have has had all year to make these inspections and did not do so. Waiting until the start of the Tour de France, when riders have been riding in the same position all year, was counterproductive. This should have and could have happened earlier in the season. And, waiting until the biggest race in the world, on the world’s stage, does nothing to further the image of sport we all love.
Eusebio Unzue of Team Movistar commented, “These situations are really negative. They should not happen during the most important race in our sport. They hurt riders, teams, sponsors and bike makers, and damage our relationship with fans. The way forward is for the UCI to be open to debate on all the issues and inclusive of the teams in decision making.”
“There’s no doubt we all feel angry about what happened. We hope UCI will learn a lesson from this. They need to work with the teams as serious partners in our sport,” said Geert Coeman on behalf of Omega Pharma – Lotto.
BMC Team rider, Cadel Evans, said, “The whole episode was an unnecessary stress at the start of the race. After riding in same position all year why now do they decide that they need to be changed?”
Sean Kelly, a four-time Tour green jersey winner, added, “No rider changes their riding position for the Tour from riding in Paris-Nice, Tirreno Adriatico or any other major race in the last few months. Many riders angle their saddles down slightly for comfort. The prostate comes under real pressure in an extreme tuck position. I’d understand that it’s a problem if a saddle is put a lot forward, but the saddle being level, that sort of thing seems to me to be a little unreasonable.”