Scotland’s unique time trialling stuation

February sees the first time trials of the season, the Ice Breaker 2-up, followed by the 3-up in Musselburgh in March- both races can be windy and cold affairs and the shelter of a team-mate or two to draft behind is essential. These team time trials open the year, with 10 mile races dominating the calendar in March and April before the longer 25s and 50s come in. Early on there are a couple of mountain TTs with the Knockhill Mountain Time Trial and the Tour of the Meldons, amd then much later in the season a couple more classic hilly TTs: the Tours of the Campsies and Trossachs, and finally the hill climbs starting around September. We have a lot of time trials.

The good news for any Scottish amateurs who have invested in top-end kit in the past few years, is that. Scottish Cycling won’t be adopting the new UCI regulations for the specification of time trial bikes. The bad news is that they will be phased in over the coming years. So a bike like with the Specialised Shiv nosecone below wouldn’t be allowed.

Matt Hennon Inverclyde Velo 22.44

The UCI now specifies some pretty restricive technical regulations about time trial bikes, and as Scottish Cycling is the internationally recognised governing body for cycle sport in Scotland it would normally be subject to the UCI technical regulations for time trial bikes.

SC is solely responsible for TTing in Scotland, while the Cycling Time Trials (CTT) – not affiliated to British Cycling or the UCI –, is the national governing body for TTs in England and Wales. The CTT isn’t beholden to UCI regulations and when it comes to equipment, stipulates the following:

(d) Machines fitted with triathlon handlebars and derivations thereof which have forearm supports, or Spinacci type handlebars without forearm supports, may be used provided that when the rider adopts a competitive position on these bars:-
(i) The wrists are no lower than the elbows.
(ii) The point of the elbow joint is no more than 3cm in front of a line extended through the centre of the machine’s head tube.
(iii) The height from the ground to the forearm resting position is no less than 80% of the height of the saddle from the ground.
(f) Disc wheels or spoked wheels fitted with covers may be used only on the rear of a machine.
(g) Deep section rims, tri-spoke and wheels of a similar design may be used. The front wheel must have at least 45% of the surface area open.
(h) The use of recumbent machines, protective shields, windbreaks or other means of reducing air resistance is prohibited.
N.B. The “tuck” position is banned because the National Committee believes that its widespread use will not be in the interests of the safety of riders and the welfare of the sport.

But you could ride a Shiv or otherwise non-UCI compliant TT bike in England and Wales, provided it still adheres to the rules above.
Bradley Wiggins fell foul of item (g) in 2009 after running a Zipp 1080 on the front – deemed to be less than 45% open. At the time, he was aiming to break Michael Hutchinson’s national 10 mile TT record in a local time trial, on a setup similar to the pic below.

Bradley Wiggins - 2009 Eneco Tour, prologue
photo © Garmin Barracuda

In most countries Time Trials only form part of higher category events – the UCI time trial rules exist for pro riders: National championships, the World championships or international stage races. Inversely, the CTT rules exist for amateurs; they cater for those of age 12 and up, racing on open roads. Hence why a front wheel that is less than 45% open is considered dangerous, as a lighter rider could be blown into the path of oncoming traffic in a side wind.

No other country in the world has as many time trial races throughout the year as Scotland and England, due to our history, and the popularity of time trialling in Britain. But Scottish Cycling is the only internationally recognised federation in the world that runs a season-long calendar of time trials across all disciplines, genders and age groups. You’ve got male, female, junior, vets and team categories over distances from 10 to 25 100 miles and even 12 hours if the courses are available. Why Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara and the like don’t flock to race here is beyond me!

Forearms must be horizontal under UCI regs

The vast majority of Scottish Cycling’s members don’t operate outside Scotland; most are amateurs looking to race on the weekend. Lots of these people have bikes that would be rendered unusable if the UCI regs are adopted, so Scottish Cycling will delay implementation and phase them in, reviewing every year. It seems a pretty sensible option to me, but may cause confusion if there are slight rule changes year-on-year.

For National or British championships or international events- bikes must still be compliant with UCI regulations though, and this includes track bikes. So if any Scottish amateurs are travelling down to England for the National 10, 25 or 50 champs, leave that nose cone at home!

New UCI time trial rule 2010-
UCI Rules page
Technical regulations for bicycles, a practical guide to implementation (pdf)
Scottish Time Trial rules