FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN)—The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced plans for a formal approval process Wednesday afternoon that would allow manufacturers the ability to ensure product concepts meet the organization’s rules during the design process.
The announcement, made by UCI president Pat McQuaid during an invitation-only meeting here at Eurobike, will save manufacturers time and money since they will know early in the development process whether a potential product meets UCI standards instead of waiting until it is on the market or used during a race.
It’s also a huge step toward clearing up some of the ambiguity surrounding the rules, which can be interpreted differently by manufacturers and UCI commissaries.
“It’s exactly what we wanted,” said Pat Cunnane, president of Advanced Sports Inc., which owns Fuji, Kestrel and Oval, among other brands. “We just want a stamp that says OK.”
ASI had one of its bikes challenged by the UCI during a pro race earlier this year for violating a section of the 3.1 rules, which regulate measurements, weight and configurations of UCI legal bicycles. The bike was eventually cleared for the race.
In the Tour de France, ASI had to pull an Oval handlebar off its bikes even though the bar had been used in competition for two years.
“We bought [the Oval brand] with the understanding that it was allowed, but it turns out the way they interpreted the rules, it’s not,” Cunnane said.
McQuaid said details of the new approval process would be announced Oct. 1, but he told the crowd of about 50 that it included hiring a full-time equipment coordinator, creation of a technology commission and partnerships with external experts such as professor Jan-Anders Mänson, director of the laboratory of polymer and composite technology at Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Mänson, who also spoke on Wednesday, will be responsible for permanent monitoring of technological evolution and validation of equipment submitted by manufacturers. He hopes to help level the playing field between competitors, some of who have access to the UCI during the development process while others do not.
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