Canadian Cyclist


April 1/24 9:28 am - UCI Considers Introducing Handicapping System

Posted by Editoress on 04/1/24

April Fools!

Given the recent dominance of riders such as Mathieu van der Poel, Tadej Pogacar, Tom Pidcock and Jonas Vingegaard, the UCI has started to discussed implementing a handicapping system. Speaking with a source at the UCI, Canadian Cyclist has learned that the issue has become of increasing concern to the UCI's broadcast partners, who are finding it difficult to retain viewer engagement when riders such as van der Poel [in the Tour of Flanders] and Pogacar (Strade Bianchi] drop the rest of the field and ride away to solo wins, leaving the cameras to focus on one rider for an hour or more.


Mathieu van der Poel

Tom Pidcock

Tadej Pogacar


The UCI discussions are centred around implementing a handicapping system similar to horse racing, where riders weighed and may have extra weight added to their saddles. The proposed UCI system would be considerably more sophisticated, with a remotely accessed chip able to add extra drag to the back wheel of a selected rider.

"These few riders, they are too powerful, and it is having an impact on the entertainment of the racing," said our source. "We need a way to level the playing field, so the races are closer."

Horse racing isn't the only sport to have ways to increasing competitiveness - hockey decreased the size of goalie pads, and limits the curve of blades. Baseball has adjusted the ball and limits materials that can be used in bats. Running and swimming have also imposed restrictions. All of these changes are made to keep sports more competitive and exciting.

At this point, the UCI discussions are in the proposal stage, but expect to see them become more serious if we continue to see a few riders riding away from fields.


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