The track cycling is underway at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with both the men's and women's team pursuit qualifiers, which saw the world and Olympic records broken
In the men's event, the leading time was set by current world record holders, Denmark. They were not able to better their own record, unlike the Germans in the women's event, but they did smash the old Olympic record previously owned by Great Britain.
However, there has been some controversy - pictures of the Danish riders have come out showing that all four riders had tape on the front of their legs between their sock line and the bottom of their knee. Some are saying this is a marginal gain and gives the Danish riders an aerodynamic advantage, but is it in line with UCI rules?
Chris Boardman tweeted his opinions in a thread, saying: "Every rider with the same injury on both legs requiring ‘medical tape’ down the front of their legs, coincidently exactly where it would be aerodynamically advantageous."
Every rider with the same injury on both legs requiring ‘medical tape’ down the front of their legs, coincidently exactly where it would be aerodynamically advantageous 🤔🤔🤔 https://t.co/l4mFuDFswwAugust 2, 2021
Before adding: "To clarify, I believe Danish team OK’d tape use with UCI. However: Page 73 UCI regs 1.3.0033 …any non-essential element of which the purpose is not exclusively that of clothing or protection, is forbidden…shall also apply regarding any material…not itself an item of clothing."
Pro cyclist, Lizzy Banks was one of the many who replied to Boardman's Tweet. The Ceratizit-WNT rider was clear that the Danes had not broken any rules.
"I don't believe that it contravenes the rules if you read the full rules as it does not change the morphology of the rider and the tape does not have a profile change of more than 1mm. I am more than certain that Denmark will have triple checked it's within current rules."
I don't believe that it contravenes the rules if you read the full rules as it does not change the morphology of the rider and the the tape does not have a profile change of more than 1mm. I am more than certain that Denmark will have triple checked it's within *current* rulesAugust 2, 2021
Cycling Weekly columnist and time trial expert Michael Hutchinson was another keen to point out the aerodynamic gains that the tape could bring with a thread of tweets beginning with: "The shin tape ... that's in just the spot to trip the airflow."
The shin tape ... that's in just the spot to trip the airflow. https://t.co/yY2CbVaBsiAugust 2, 2021
Hutchinson then posted a diagram he had drawn, explaining how the tape could help with aerodynamics.
The Danish riders beat the Italians by 0.881 seconds while also setting an Olympic record in a qualifying round, this being before they're even riding against another team at the other side of the track, which generally means faster times due to the disturbed airflow.
See handy attached diagram, which I realise is no sort of explanation at all. But if you trip the air right beside the leg to a turbulent layer, the overall flow stays attached for longer and the wake (hence drag) is lower. pic.twitter.com/TJ4XD8aB5ZAugust 2, 2021
Hutch joked: "Somewhere at the UCI, a commissaire unrolls the equipment regulation parchment, shakes his head sadly, and solemnly dips his quill in the inkwell."
There has been no official statement about the tape as of yet, but we wait with bated breath heading into day two.
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