Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Cycling world reacts to Denmark's team pursuit 'aero' leg tape

The tape has sparked controversy on social media with mixed reaction

Denmark riding their qualifying round of the team pursuit at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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? 

>>> Kit, temperatures, and practice - How records fell on the opening day of Tokyo 2020 Olympics track cycling

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."

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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."

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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."

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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.

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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. 

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Tim Bonville-Ginn is one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter.

Bonville-Ginn started working in cycling journalism while still at school and university for a voluntary site based on Twitter before also doing slots for Eurosport's online web team and has been on location at the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain, UCI World Championships and various track events. He then joined the Cycling Weekly team in late February of 2020.

When not writing stories for the site, Bonville-Ginn doesn't really switch off his cycling side as he watches every race that is televised as well as being a rider himself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager.

He rides a Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on his local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being his preferred terrain.