The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has banned Bont’s Crono shoe from its events. The Australian manufacturer was informed by a letter emailed to them on April 11 after a complaint was lodged at the world track championships back in March.

The Russian team pursuit squad used the shoes en route to a silver medal in Apeldoorn. A complaint was then made to the commissaire who passed the information on to the UCI’s technical coordinator, Julien Carron.

The shoe was banned under rule 1.3.033 (Part 1: General organisation of cycling as a sport) that states ‘It is forbidden to wear non-essential items of clothing or items designed to influence the performances of a rider such as reducing air resistance or modifying the body of the rider.’

“The ruling on this is an absolute joke”, Bont CEO Steven Nemeth told Cycling Weekly. “The ruling is broken all over the place. If they treated everyone the same way then that would be the way it is, I’d say ‘fair enough’, and take it on the chin. But if they have one set of rules for one and another set of rules for someone else then they’re just commercially handicapping me.”

Nemeth argues that virtually every item of equipment is designed to enhance the performance of a rider, and specifically highlighted the use of aero helmets. “Is it necessary to wear an aerodynamic helmet? Are they considered safe? I know what would happen if I landed on my back while wearing one. They’re classified as safety equipment, but every manufacturer markets them as aerodynamic.”

A quick look at Giro’s website confirms this. The blurb alongside their TT helmet, called the Selector, says:


When every second counts, sometimes you have to second-guess convention. The foundation of aerodynamics is pure and unyielding; every gram of drag devours time and calories. And as the speed increases, so does the air’s appetite. Instead of simply facing this challenge head-on, the Selector gives you a new edge in the race of truth – the tail.

By combining a smooth front profile with either of two different lower tails, the rider can optimize the helmet for best aerodynamics based on their anatomy, riding position and even course conditions. The result is a helmet that works for you, instead of the wind.

Giro are not alone in pushing the aerodynamic properties of their TT helmet, and forgetting the safety aspects.

Cycling Weekly also contacted Castelli brand Manager Steve Smith to ask if they had submitted their Speed Suit – worn by Johan Van Summeren during his 2011 Paris-Roubaix victory – to the UCI. They hadn’t, and didn’t think they had to as the ruling on submission of clothing is believed to be applicable only to the design.

But a Speed Suit (like any skinsuit) is designed for its aerodynamics, thus breaking rule 1.3.033.

Around 200 professional riders currently use Bont shoes, although the crono hasn’t yet been used on the road. The next generation of the shoe pictured on Bont’s website has already been made and is expected to be popular in the triathlon market.

The Crono retails for around $600 AUS ($500 US) and each pair is custom made to fit around a athlete’s foot. The Sydney based company is now in it’s 36th year, but only entered the cycling market in 2007. Britain’s track cyclists, including Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, have been using them for several years. Bradley Wiggins also prefers to use Bonts, despite sponsorship from Adidas.

Read more on this in next week’s Cycling Weekly magazine.

bont, bont crono shoes, russian

The Russian team ride to a silver medal at the 2011 world track championships in their Bont Crono shoes

bont, bont crono shoes, russian

The offending shoes on the podium. But who complained?

Related links

UCI introduces approved equipment scheme


Bont’s website

  • John cole

    Wether it’s obree’s washing machine bike, carbon frames,Lycra,futuristic smurf shoes, it’s about time the UCI showed some consistency, and embraced the great innovative developments that the whole of the sporting cycling world strives for.. Faster, longer, safer, etc. These developments are out there for any one to use, copy or further develop and whilst I understand there needs to be some legislation to encourage a level playing field the UCI are clearly dopes with bigger fish to fry to achieve this.

  • Jez Cordon

    The sooner McQuaid disappears off the scene then the better that will be for the UCI and for cycling as a whole, and if he doesn’t go, then the UCI should disappear and be replaced by a credible organisation. Of course this is not by any means the first silly ruling to come out of the UCI; it has a history of such rulings but this has to be one of the silliest. No wonder many athletes are leaving cycling per se and moving over to triathlons were the rules governing bikes and clothing are a little more relaxed and more progressive.
    In fact, many of the UCI rulings are quite clearly non-progressive and if they have their way totally, the sport and its technical development will be seriously held back. McQuaid should have a good hard look at FI and WRC motor sport. Motor sport has come on leaps and bounds over the years in terms of materials, technical development, safety and in race communications.

  • Andy Whiteley

    Oh dear, what next?, the banning of leg shaving?. If they wish to apply the rule under which they are banning these shoes then I would have to say yes to my previous question. The UCI really are making themselves into a laughing stock.

  • Heiko Salzwedel

    It’s not about shoes, aerodynamic or weight… It’s about Corruption and Lobbyism…

    1. BONT has no private contacts to the desicion makers
    2. RUSSIA is not (any more, or better: not yet) a country anyone would be concerned to become a thread

    Both are the underdogs, emerging with some new fresh ideas and disturbing the hybernation of the “Established” ones… Nonetheless, with BONT (crono or zero), Cervelo, etc. they continue to have the finger on the pulse… There is more to come…

    Thanks, dear UCI, for giving the RUSSIANS and BONT such great publicity !!!

  • michael cummings

    Planet UCI is so far removed from the real world it has gone way beyond looking foolish/stupid that is it really worth listening too any more.

  • stuart stanton

    as worn by ‘The Smurfs’ circa 1975..

  • The_Kaner

    I’m off to wax my b@llz and put on my mankini..(not a pretty sight on a 69kg 5’3″ cyclist)..but I guess it doesn’t break any UCI rules…what about all those ‘tadpole’ shaped helmets…I guess they aren’t aerodynamically shaped in any way…essential/non essential items of clothing…who needs clothes…nudey cycling..I’m up for it…why don’t we all form a break away league F. the UCI…get some people with sense…and yes…Graeme Obree and all the crap he had to put up with still sticks in my throat…

  • David Pearson

    I have been trying to think who would possibly complain about what shoes are being worn, I have to assume and come to the conclusion that it must be another shoe manufacturer,probably the one that sponsors that well known winner of the TdeF …Well it does make some sort of sense, doesn’t it!

  • Carl Sanders

    What a ridiculous situation, the UCI needs to see common sense prompt or leave themselves open to ridicule. Have the UCI tested the shoes to prove they are an enhancement? Loss of earnings would prompt a court action against them, is this what they want to attract?

  • Herbie

    Classic UCI – what are neoprine overshoes for if they aren’t to improve aerodynamics on exactly the same way as these shoes? I sort of understand what the UCI is trying to do, otherwise in the limit we’ll have a bike looking like an HPV and modified skinsuits with fins on like they had in Rollerball – wait a minute, wouldn;t that be exciting?! Seriously, they need to apply these rules more evenly – look at the fiasco of when they modified rules as they went along just to have something to ban Graham Obree for.

  • oldhedgey aka ‘coco’

    Should your readers care to look up a photo of the ever popular Dutch singing puppets ‘The Smurfs’ they may notice a similarity in footware with the Russian quartet.. The coincidence does not stop there, as at least one of the group was modelled on the Panasonic rider Henk Lubberding,

  • Tony

    The UCI need to spend time sorting out the doping situation before they waste their time on what type of shoes some riders are wearing.

    They need to get a grip on the important issues in cycling today.

  • The man

    Quick look the other way Floyd Landis is damaging the integrity of cycling!

  • Ken Evans

    What planet are the UCI on ?

    In 1974 Ole Ritter tried to break the world hour record in Mexico,
    using special aero shoes, with laces on the heel.
    Even with these aero shoes he was still too slow !

    The Russian pursuit team did NOT win,
    they did NOT break any records !

    LeMond would probably be an improvement, as head of the UCI !

  • neil duerden

    Glad to read the UCI have their priorities in order!!

    Please PatMcQuaid do the honorable thing & resign-your brown nosing to the IOC has ensured team GB will never repeat the medal haul of Bejing 2008.Plus luddite&flat earther mentality regarding technological progress exhibited by many pro teams then subsequently banned.

    GregLeMond for UCI president!!

  • Dave

    Please someone tell me that the UCI is joking as having verified it is not April Fools Day I just find this beyond a joke.
    It is time the UCI was replaced by a body who truly represents the interests of cycling. Looking at the pictures of the riders legs do the UCI not consider that the ptofile of the riders veins are also altering the aerodynamics of the rider and that shaved legs complete with embrocation are items aimed at iving performance pluses ?

    Gents you are idiots and my suspicion of how big idiots you are was reinforced by seeing that Verbruggen is back in the picture re race radios, the man who could not see that doping was going on but banned O’Brees bike.