The UCI has updated its technical regulations in a bid to reduce the aerodynamic aid of following vehicles on a rider in individual time trials. While cyclists instinctively know of the benefits of following another rider or vehicle, it is only relatively recently that riders and teams have become aware of the aero benefits presented by both riders and vehicles behind a rider.
The issue came to greater public awareness earlier this year when the new World Hour Record holder Filippo Ganna’s following car in the Tirreno Adriatico time trial was pictured with as many as ten spare bikes on the roof, following closely behind the then-world time trial champion. While the tactic of “pushing” a rider with a gust of wind from an accelerating following car has long played a role in professional time trialling, it is only recently that aerodynamicists discovered the pressure-reducing effect the following car offers in helping a rider move faster.
This marginal gain touched a nerve with many spectators and the UCI alike, and the world governing body has now moved to restrict this effect as of January 1 2023 in an update published on September 23. While the number of spare bikes permitted on the roof of following cars has not been restricted, the UCI amended the regulations to mandate following cars must now stay a minimum of 15 m behind the rider, an increase of 5 m over the 10 m previously in effect. The following vehicle shall follow at least 10 15 […]