There are more important issues than ‘ridiculous’ UCI sock checks at Tour de France 2019, says Nicolas Roche

The Sunweb rider shares his thoughts on the newly enforced kit rule

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nicolas Roche has said cycling faces issues more important than the “ridiculous” UCI sock checks being carried out at the Tour de France.

Former double Irish national champion Roche has shared his thoughts on the bizarre tests being carried out at the Tour, saying the examinations have been taking place since the start of the season.

The Sunweb rider said the UCI, cycling’s international governing body, has also been carrying out random tests at stage finishes.

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Writing in his Tour diary for the Irish Independent, the 35-year-old said: “These checks have been doing on all year, but because it’s the Tour de France I think it’s the first time the general public have noticed it.

“In the event somebody might get past the rule by pulling their socks down a little bit before they’re measure, they even have random checks at the finish.

“It’s ridiculous. Our sport definitely has more important issues than sock height.”

The UCI sock rule has been reintroduced for 2019 as part of the organisation’s crackdown on clothing being used to gain an aero advantage.

Stage two of the Tour de France 2019 shed new light on the enforcement of the rule, as a commissaire was photographed carrying out a test using an unusual measuring device.

Regulations state: “Socks and overshoes used in competition may not rise above the height defined by half the distance between the middle of the lateral malleolus and the middle of the fibula head.”

In short, the sock must not breach the halfway mark between the ankle and the bottom of the knee.

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For 2019 the UCI extended their kit regulations to ban clothing that changes the shape or a rider and forbid any non-essential clothing or devices used for purposes other than protection.

The UCI had previously regulated sock height but that rule had disappeared from the books in recent years.

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Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.