Canadian Cyclist


July 7/03 2:20 am - UCI Helmet Rule Update, Rocky Mountain Classic in 2004

Posted by Editor on 07/7/03

UCI Review of Helmet Situation

The UCI has released a position paper regarding the helmet rule they instituted 2 months ago:

Wearing of helmets - Situation two months after introduction of new rule

This document is aimed at the various parties involved in professional cycling. Its objective is to chart the current situation regarding the wearing of helmets in professional Road events following implementation of the new ruling on 5 May 2003.

UCI, and in particular the Professional Cycling Council, are delighted that it has been possible to make the wearing of helmets compulsory in all professional Road events, thanks to the support of the leading parties in the sector. This is a responsible decision, taken in the general interests of the sport of cycling and those who practise it.

Thanks to the cooperation of the vast majority, the new rule has been accepted very well given the rapidity with which it was introduced. However, a few points remain uncertain. UCI is aware of these, and is endeavouring to resolve them, in collaboration with the parties concerned. This document sets out these points and outlines the actions undertaken to date, on the basis of some of the comments from riders, sporting managers, organisers and the UCI equipment unit.

Manufacturing standards
Following some of the comments that have reached them, the UCI equipment unit and UCI legal department are seeking to ensure that the helmets used comply with the various different official standards in force, with the aim of providing our athletes with maximum safety protection.

In particular it seems that some aerodynamic helmets worn in against-the-clock trials do not offer adequate protection.

We shall make our conclusions known to you as soon as possible so that the necessary decisions can be taken.

Exceptions on medical grounds
According to some, the wearing of a helmet presents problems for individuals suffering from particular morphological or physiological conditions (scalp diseases, deformities of the cranium). However, not one case of this kind had ever come to our notice until very recently, although it has been compulsory for other categories (juniors, under 23s, women, elite without contract) to wear a rigid helmet for 12 years.

However, similar situations have arisen in other professions in which the wearing of a helmet or cap etc. is compulsory (e.g. construction industry, army, police). For this reason the UCI equipment unit and UCI health department are looking into whether solutions must be offered for particular extreme cases, while always guaranteeing the safety and equal treatment of all riders.

Exceptional weather conditions
The wearing of a helmet can be uncomfortable when climbing hills and in very hot weather. Some riders contacted us to point this out, though all approved the decision to make the wearing of helmets compulsory generally.

UCI is prepared to adopt practical solutions very quickly, working on the principle that in any case helmets will still be compulsory for cycling downhill.

On this subject, the helmet manufacturers have informed us that they are already working on making improvements to their products (comfort, safety). For example, some are looking into the possibility of incorporating refrigeration systems for trials taking place in extreme heat, and this may eventually provide a solution to the problem. Hence one notes that the new rule is a factor in technological progress.

Final climb
According to the rules, riders in events up to class 3 may, at their own risk, remove their helmets for the final climb if the finish is on this uphill section or at the top of the hill, under the following conditions:
1) the uphill section in question is at least 5 km long,
2) the helmet is not removed before the start of the uphill section.

Enforcement of this rule poses practical problems. The riders wish to rid themselves of their helmets quickly, in a confined space and at a very tense point in the race. This results in a moment of great confusion, which poses dangers to riders, followers and spectators and shows our sport in a disorderly light.

Certainly this is a matter for further thought by all concerned, taking everyone‚s experiences into account.

The rule making the wearing of helmets compulsory is necessary, and generally its introduction has gone very well.

We shall keep you informed as to how thoughts develop on the points raised in this document; a meeting on this subject will take place at the end of the 2003 season, and all parties concerned will be represented.

In the meantime, we urge you to send us your comments and suggestions (, particularly those concerning situations of extreme heat, as UCI is prepared to act very quickly (even for the Tour de France) to adopt practical solutions that will guarantee riders the best safety conditions.

Aigle, l July 2003

Pro Cycling Tour Announces Inaugural PCT Rocky Mountain Classic

Norristown, PA - The Pro Cycling Tour (PCT), owned and operated by Threshold Sports, and the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau (VVCTB) announced today the 2004 PCT Rocky Mountain Classic at Vail professional cycling event. The inaugural weekend of races is set for September 3-5, 2004. Vail has also been named the Official Resort of the 2004 PCT.

Top United States and international cyclists will compete on September 4th & 5th in a one-day circuit road race through Vail Village and Beaver Creek as well as a shorter criterium event expected to be held in Vail Village. A large recreational ride is being planned for September 3rd. Threshold Sports, working with the VVCTB, is in the process of designing the courses along with ancillary events, expos and entertainment. Details will be announced early in 2004.

"The PCT Rocky Mountain Classic at Vail will generate tremendous visibility for the Vail Valley, especially in our key markets," said Rick Chastain, Director of Event Marketing for the VVCTB. "With a strong field of riders, we are positive this event will become a great annual competition showcasing the beauty of summertime in the Vail Valley to an international audience."

The VVCTB will pursue a focused strategy in leveraging the relationship with the PCT to increase tourism spending on a year-round basis. The goal for the event itself is to attract 20,000 visitors to the Vail Valley for an average stay of four nights, representing a projected revenue generation of over seven million dollars. In addition, the event will bring significant exposure to the Vail Valley as an active lifestyle destination year-round. The relationship will involve an integrated marketing campaign including national television, print, radio, internet and consumer promotions in key U.S. markets as well as on-site marketing at other Pro Cycling Tour events.

The PCT Rocky Mountain Classic at Vail will be an official event on the 2004 Pro Cycling Tour and take place just one week before the PCT's season-finale races for men and women, the T-Mobile International, presented by BMC Software on September 12, 2004 in San Francisco.

According to Threshold Sports CEO, Dave Chauner, "We are excited to add Vail as an upscale resort location on the annual Pro Cycling Tour. With Vail and San Francisco back-to-back, we offer an ideal reason for cycling fans around the globe to come to the U.S. to witness our world-class cycling - American style."


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