Rule changes open up gearing options, and problems, for junior riders alongside a host of TT position changes that may or may not apply.
Commissaries and juniors alike are rejoicing in the streets tonight with news that the UCI plans to scrap its arcane junior gear restrictions. Calls for “no more roll outs” and “12 speed for all” have finally been answered as new medical evidence has emerged suggesting the 53×11 gear ratio does not cause 17 and 18-year-old knee caps to self-destruct or implode.
UCI regulation 2.2.023 currently states: “During men junior and women junior events, the maximum gear ratio authorised is that which gives a distance covered per pedal revolution of 7.93 metres.” For most Juniors that has always meant a 52 chainring up front paired to a 14 sprocket on the rear. However, riders in the recent Junior Paris-Roubaix are known to have reduced the gear ratio in order to fit much larger tyres for the Hell of the North. Mash whatever gear you want kids. It’s believed the gear restriction was first introduced to protect under-18 rider’s knees, presumably deemed too fragile and under-developed to sustain the forces possible with a bigger 53×11 or similar-sized gear ratio.
I have heard others suggest the rule was introduced in a bid to reduce junior race speeds, presumably because under-18 brains were deemed too immature to travel in excess of 51 kph.
Both explanations seem equally weak given said juniors could still pedal at 50 rpm on the steepest climbs in their […]