Chris Froome has questioned the safety of time trial bikes in light of Egan Bernal's recent training crash, their use necessary in training for riders to be able to perform at their best against the clock in races.
The four-time Tour de France champion says the difference in conditions between racing on safe closed roads on a TT machine can never be replicated in training, which then throws up a multitude of hazards.
"Being out on my TT bike this morning, and in light of recent events, TT bikes are not really meant to be ridden on the roads the way we need to ride them to be ready for time trials," Froome said in his latest YouTube video.
"If there's an hour-long TT in the Tour de France, you have to get out there on your TT bike and you have to simulate that. Now how many roads do you know where you can literally ride for an hour in closed-road conditions, with no traffic, no stop signs, no traffic lights? Those kinds of conditions just don't exist in the real world.
"When you're on the skis, you've got no brakes there, so you have to sit up, and it's not really that safe. It's one thing when racing on closed roads and even then you can have horrendous accidents, but it's completely another thing when you're out on open roads, with traffic and people crossing the roads."
Froome, whose prowess in time trials matched his climbing skills and brought him multiple Grand Tour victories throughout his career, thinks the answer is a simple one: do away with time trial bikes. Instead, Froome says road bikes should just be used, which would have the added benefit of helping to level the playing field in the peloton.
"I love time trialling - it's an art, it's a skill, it's really nuanced, something you really need to know a lot about as a pro cyclist. One of the magical things about Grand Tour racing is the balance of pure climbers versus the guys who can time trial as well," Froome explained.
"Would it not be more uniform to have time trials done on road bikes? Without doubt, I think it would make it more of level playing field and more about the skill of individual riders, and not necessarily so much about the R&D, the aerodynamics, time in the wind tunnel, and the funding that goes into a project like being ready for a TT."
The 36-year-old's final thoughts were on the UCI, saying their safety protocols introduced last season are far less effective than the measures he's suggesting.
"Personally, I find it quite ironic that the UCI have introduced things to make the sport safer, like limiting the positions we can use on the bike," he said. "But in my opinion something like this, which would be pretty easy to implement, would have a far greater impact on the safety of professional cyclists."
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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