Reports from the start village at the Giro d’ltalia suggest the UCI’s time trial bike pre-event testing jig failed on the morning of the Stage 1 time trial. One year and a day since the UCI unveiled its new smart jig designed to offer much quicker and more accurate pre-event testing, the failure threw the UCI’s and team’s time trial morning prep into disarray.
The UCI’s Head of Innovation, Michael Rogers broke the news to teams via a text message in a WorldTour mechanics WhatsApp group this morning.
“Dear Team Mechanics,
Michael Rogers here. Unfortunately there was an issue with the jig this morning at the Giro pre-check. We are trying to understand the cause of the issue and why the jig is not working. The UCI Technical Commissaire Ernesto Maggioni noted the jig provided by the race organiser has some oxidation points in the magnetic track used to take the measurements. We cannot rule at this point if this is the true cause of the issue. As a result pre-bike checks will not take place.
Michael Rogers, Head of Innovation”
Typically the UCI run two bike checks before each time trial stage. One in the morning, hours before the start, when mechanics can bring all the team’s bikes en-masse to ensure they all pass the positional checks and avoid any last-minute stress later in the day. Later, the UCI will then conduct a mandatory check on each bike as riders come to the start house just before their allocated start time.
That morning check was unavailable to teams following the jig failure today. Rogers message explains the jig may have suffered corrosion along the magnetic track used for taking measurements.
Before we roll our eyes and curse the UCI again, it’s worth considering this unfortunate incident may have been entirely outside the UCI’s control. Organisers such as the RCS own and maintain their own testing jigs.
Looking for possible causes for today’s failure may exonerate the UCI even further. In all likelihood, this jig’s last outing would have been March’s Tirreno-Adriatico time trial, run in torrential rain. Was the jig still wet when packed away? That might explain the corrosion.
“Fortunately, Team Cofids has kindly made available their UCI Jig,” Rogers message went on to explain, meaning the commissaires could avoid a time trial position free-for-all. Given the new jigs were introduced to both speed up and improve the accuracy of pre-event checks, and Cofidis’ jig was one of the older versions, the UCI also increased the tolerances in a one-time move to ensure no last minute stress for any teams on day one.
The UCI and RCS will be working to either fix or replace the newer testing jig, developed in conjunction with BikeFitting.com ahead of next Sunday’s stage nine time trial. The UCI seem to have handled this potentially embarrassing situation as well as could be expected given the situation. That said, perhaps there is a learning for the UCI in the need to bring its own, or at least a backup jig, to the biggest races.