Sky’s Richie Porte would rather sleep in a motorhome than hotels for the Tour de France this July, but following a change on Friday by cycling’s governing body, the UCI, it is no longer an option.
Porte led the way to a potential sweeping change in the Giro d’Italia when Sky rolled out its silver and black Fleetwood Excursion motorhome. Instead of sleeping with his team in the assigned hotels, he slept in the motorhome parked outside each night.
Sky argued that it provided consistency for its captain and reduced the risk of bunking in dodgy hotels or disturbances. It planned to continue to use the motorhome, or possibly multiple motorhomes, in the Tour de France starting on July 4 in Utrecht, but its push was stopped short by the UCI. The international governing body modified an article in its rules on Friday banning riders from sleeping outside of the provided hotels.
“To hear this news leaves me perplexed,” Porte told Tutto Bici at the Colnago Granfondo in Northern Ireland this weekend.
“From my point of view it’s upsetting to hear that our international federation is blocking the development and technology, or doesn’t recognise that motorhomes are a step ahead for cycling.”
In a press release Friday, the UCI modified Article 2.2.010.
The article now reads: “In all road stage races on the international calendar, the organisers must cover the subsistence expenses of the teams from the night before the start to the final day; riders must stay in the hotels provided by the organiser throughout the entire duration of the race.
“The decision was made in order to reaffirm absolute fairness between all riders. The amended article comes into force immediately.”
Froome said at the Critérium du Dauphiné last week that “there’s a good chance” he would sleep in a motorhome at the Tour.
“There’s definitely a lot to be said for motorhomes,” Froome explained. “You can improve recovery and make things a lot more efficient and comfortable for yourself, some hotels that you go into don’t have air con and in some the sanitation isn’t great. It’s just about being able to control the factors you can control.”
At the Giro d’Italia last month, Team Sky Principal David Brailsford said that he and Sky had researched sleeping conditions over the last year and that they were planning to lodge on wheels during the Tour. Towards that goal, Porte was the guinea pig. The Australian called the motorhome a sanctuary, but it remains an “innovation” that he will have do without for the Tour de France and other races.
“[They UCI] should instead embrace innovations like this to grow,” Porte added.
“I don’t understand this change in rules and I don’t agree with it, but like all the cyclists, I’ll have to accept it.”
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