Frank Schleck Camelbak Contraversy… say what?

Check out that incriminating buldge, no look higher.

I’ve been following the Spring classics this year and enjoying watching guys ride through Belgium in races I can not even fathom how to pronounce like the “Ver de Loon E3 Criterium Hjkllenum Tour”  It all blows open this Sunday with the Godfather of the Classics, the Paris Roubaix.  Hold on to your helmets because racing season is here. 

So what kind of “major” stories are being generated by these Spring races?  How about this jewel.  Apparently Frank Schleck wore a Camelbak under his jersey in a TT at the Criterium International and is now under investigation for cheating. 

I’ve been reading about people wearing Camelbaks during time trials for a long time, this is the first time I’ve read that it’s considered cheating.  Apparently the rule states you can’t wear non-essential items of clothing or clothing designed to change the shape of your body for aerodynamic advantage.  See the UCI wants to prevent professional Bike Racing from looking like this. 

A body suited Human Powered Vehicle Racer.

Some interesting Human Powered Vehicles, not sure why this isn't called bike racing.

The Union Cyclist International wants to protect the tradition and appearance of bicycle racing, so they have lots and lots of rules about how a bike and rider can look, many of these revolve around aerodynamics. 

That’s all well and good, I don’t know if bike racers would end up in fully faired LWD recumbents if they were allowed but I don’t think it would make for an enjoyable sport. 

My problem is with the UCI’s tendency to be incoherent, inconsistent  and go off power tripping on their rule book.  Officials at the race knew Schleck was wearing a Cambelbak, they didn’t care.  Now they do? 

It would be like the NFL changing the outcome of a game based on further review of video footage a few days after the game.  It would never happen.  Yet it seems like to actually win a bike race you have to win the race, then hope you don’t get caught breaking a tiny rule, or with some kind of doping infraction a few months later.  Its moronic. 


I can completely understand the problem with Camelbaks, what if they build a model that deliberately gives you a big aerodynamic advantage, you could wear it on your rear end and look like this guy.  It’d look totally dorky!  Bike racers are supposed to look cool.


So besides hassling Frank the UCI is ticking everyone off with a radio ban.  They think racing is more exciting when no one knows the hell is going on.   I think they couldn’t be more right, but unfortunately they haven’t gone far enough.  To truly make racing exciting again then need to blindfold the racers.  That would make for some wickedly exciting racing, 30 seconds worth. 


Thanks I’ll be here all week.



About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
This entry was posted in Bikes and components, Rants, technology (geek) and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Frank Schleck Camelbak Contraversy… say what?

  1. Steve says:

    It’s interesting (to me anyway) to read how professional racing has dealt with technology over the years. There once was a time when derailleurs were viewed as unsporting. Also, for the first few years of the TdF, cyclists could not receive ANY assistance WHATSOEVER during the race. This lead to a cyclist being DQ’d when people helped him climb out of a ditch he had fallen into and another cyclist carrying his bike several kms to the nearest village blacksmith shop, where he personally operated the metal working equipment to fix his bike (for some reason, I can picture you doing this yourself, Matt). Change comes slowly to the peloton, so it would seem.

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