Lotto-Soudal have reacted with anger and disappointment after the UCI took the decision to ban the so-called “Speed Gel” that riders had on their legs during the team time trial on stage three of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
At least four riders – Thomas De Gendt, Jelle Vanendert, Victor Campenaerts, and Jens Keukeleire – were spotted with small white dots on their legs during the 35km stage three, in which they finished third behind Team Sky and BMC Racing, with team staff explaining that it was a special gel designed to improve aerodynamics.
The UCI quickly launched an investigation into the gel, and have now banned it ahead of the Tour de France. According to the governing body’s rules “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.”
Lotto-Soudal general manager Marc Sergeant said that he was disappointed with the UCI’s decision, and brought up the example of Team Sky’s skinsuits with their pimpled panels on the sleeves that caused significant controversy at last year’s Tour de France but were approved by the UCI.
“I received a call from [UCI equipment manager] Jean-Christophe Péraud,” Sergeant told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. “He told me that the gel is not allowed. They will investigate the matter and that the regulations – with the Tour just around the corner – will be changed in the coming weeks.
“I told Péraud that Sky still races with those skinsuits with strips on the shoulders and arms that reduce the air resistance at high speed.
“He should also tackle that, but Péraud believes that we should not put anything on the legs with the intention of riding faster. But my question is: are sunscreen and mud not allowed? Because they’re not under the current regulations.”
However despite being told that the gel will not be allowed, Sergeant said that his riders could defy the UCI and continue to use the gel if he does not receive a satisfactory answer as to why Team Sky’s skinsuits are allowed but Lotto-Soudal’s speed gel is not.