Time trialling is in the headlines. And for the best, traditional time trialling reasons – someone somewhere is getting disqualified for a rule no one understands. It’s like the best bits of the 1960s come back to life.

The someone is Bradley Wiggins, who won the Kent Valley CC 10 last weekend in the second (or third – depends how you count) fastest time ever, and now faces having his victory snatched away.

The problem is that he used a front wheel that contravenes regulation 14(g): ‘Deep section rims, tri-spoke and wheels of a similar design may be used. The front wheel must have 45% of the surface area open.’

(I don’t wish to invite mockery, but I didn’t have to look that up.)

Essentially, his wheel had too deep a rim. It’s a safety reg – first and foremost it bans front discs, which are all but uncontrollable in crosswinds. I’ve never ridden a front disc outside, but nevertheless managed to crash while doing nothing more dangerous than wheeling my pursuit bike across the car park outside Manchester Velodrome. The wind caught the front disc, the bike swerved into my legs, and I fell over.

So I have every sympathy with that aspect of it, and indeed, with the idea that a tiny hole in the middle of a disc isn’t going to make much difference.

But the problem with the reg as it stands is that it’s almost unenforceable – it’s often not possible to calculate accurately the open area of a three or four-spoke wheel without the manufacturer’s CAD data, and there is no reason on earth for them to willingly hand over the means of having their product declared unusable for a potential market.

At the moment Cycling Time Trials is several months into trying to decide if one particular wheel is legal or not. Months. So exactly how you’re supposed to figure it out in the real world – in a shop, or at the start line, or even in a subsequent hearing – is beyond me. As it is, most riders including, I assume, Bradley don’t even know the reg exists, never mind how to deal with it.

All the same, I would imagine he’ll get over the heartbreak of having his win taken away, and will already have moved on to worrying about things like, oh I don’t know, the Tour prologue. Where he can use pretty much any front wheel he likes.

  • tim

    Not sure he has got over it – after riding up to 3rd place in the tour during his post race interview he mentioned the up coming time trial and that he would be riding the 1080 front wheel and the CTTA – not usre if it was a little play on his disqualification. Maybe

  • cafe_stop

    At least time trialing in the UK is free of stupid UCI restrictions so not unreasonable for professionals who choose to compete in our events to have to comply with RTTC regulations. We would have to comply with their regs not that we would be allowed to. Does it really matter in any case?


    NTeOfE Oh hell yeah… no graphical smilies around here.,

  • Stephen Nightingale

    The fact that BWiggo didn’t get Comp Record renders the issue moot – and renders the ride a training ride. I’m sure he doesn’t begrudge missing out on the five pound first prize. Even though there was a long, long thread on the TimeTrialling Forum on this subject, nobody has heard Brad’s opinion. Perhaps he was riding a 1080 to be deliberately provocative?

  • Peter D.Reed

    I stopped riding TT’s under CTT regs after 55 years when some organisers insisted on hard shell helmets should be worn. How did I manage before!! Especially as the only other road users at that time in the morning were of the furry kind.

  • richard evans

    I am so surprised that anyone should not know this rule! It’s written next to the one that demands that ‘The rider shall not ride a bicycle that is designed to make him/her able to ride fast therefore forcing other competitors the unnecessary expense of buying new parts’
    This rule was written in 1910, and as far as I’m concerned it is still useful.
    I stopped cycling in the early 60’s (thankfully I started again) because of such sillyness

  • Mark Holton

    Bradley signed (or at least should have signed) an entry form stating that he was ‘conversant with the rules’ etc. He obviously wasn’t, and there’s no excuse for that. The equipment rules for CTT cover just half an A5 page. Some of us (yourself included) spend a lot of time and money making sure we use the best equipment WITHIN THE RULES, and it’s then incredibly frustrating when other people just use whatever they want. I don’t think Bradley should be banned or put in the stocks, but he should be DQ’d from the event. There has been another notable case recently of a Pro riding a TT on an illegal wheel and covering up the logo! That’s not even ignorance, it’s deceipt. Currently it seems like the only people who have to conform to the rules are serious amateurs, if you’re club level then complainants are just told to get a life, and if you’re a pro then it seems you are above local rules.

    So either it’s ok to ride what you want, in which case I’m selling a kidney and buying a Mavic IO, or else it’s not and EVERYONE has to conform or be DQ’d.

  • bonger

    I got blown off once and i wasn’t even doing a wheelie.

  • Mike Westmorland

    Usual nice light (lite?) touch from the Doc. But he knows, as do we all, that on the domestic scene all wedges have thin ends. At least Wiggo probably erred innocently, but he still erred. Another less famous fastman knew what he was about to do and used gaffer tape. I don’t think anyone will now have any doubts that the Zipp 1080 isn’t allowed. So some progress!