UCI under fire for banning special time trial helmets

On Tuesday, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that the Specialized TT5, a time trial helmet worn by Remco Evenepoel when he won the World Time Trial Championships in Glasgow, will be banned from 2 April. The decision has led to widespread criticism, including from the world champion himself.

The decision follows Monday's opening time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, where riders from the Visma-Lease a Bike team wore an experimental helmet design. The UCI said in a press release that it had noticed the "increasingly radical designs" of time trial helmets.

'Head sock' banned

As a result, the UCI is banning the Specialized TT5, also known as the 'head sock' - referring to the built-in balaclava that is part of the design - from 2 April. The UCI's argument for the ban is that the Head Sock is "not an essential part" of a crash helmet. The helmet is used by several teams, including Evenepoel's Soudal-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe.

The oversized TT5 may look ridiculous compared to a regular bike helmet, but it has proven itself on the road. According to Specialized, Remco Evenopoel cuts 26 seconds off his time in a 40km time trial with the helmet. The Belgian also wore the 'head sock' when he became world time trial champion in Glasgow last year.

"They're making a mockery of cycling and they're turning all the riders against the UCI"

Evenepoel responded on Wednesday by calling the UCI's decision "ridiculous". "Two years ago they approved our helmet and now they're banning it," said the world champion. "They're making a mockery of cycling and they're turning all the riders against the UCI."

The UCI is also planning "an in-depth analysis of the regulations concerning the design and use of time trial helmets", referring to the equipment used by Team Visma-Lease a Bike. By reviewing the rules, the UCI wants to "ensure that these rules provide a clear framework in line with the objectives pursued".

Team Visma-Lease a Bike's new time trial helmet.
Team Visma-Lease a Bike's new time trial helmet.

Remco Evenepoel pictured wearing the Specialized TT5. © BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

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