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UCI, teams association continue squabble over saddle tilt

  • By Steve Frothingham
  • Published Jul. 8, 2011
Petacchi runs his saddle fairly far forward on the rails of his San Marco carbon-railed saddle. I hope the UCI doesn't see it though, that's nose down folks!

The professional team’s association on Friday continued the public debate with the UCI over enforcement of a rule requiring saddles to be horizontal.

The association said strictly enforcing the regulation — as the UCI did at the start of the Tour’s second stage last Saturday — endangers riders’ health and comfort.

“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 plus-or-minus 5-degree guideline,” the association said in a statement released Friday.

The association also said that measuring saddle tilt is inherently imprecise and that suddenly enforcing the rule on the eve of a Tour de France stage “does nothing to further the image of sport we all love.”

Following the controversy Sunday, the UCI had released a statement Monday defending the rule enforcement. Noting that the rule had been in effect since 2000, the organization said teams were told of the enforcement at a sports directors meeting following the Criterium Dauphine last month. Teams also were sent a letter ten days before the Tour start, the UCI said.

But Sean Kelly called the rule enforcement “a little unreasonable.”

“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,” the former pro said in a statement released by the teams’ association. “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.”

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