When Saeco’s Gilberto Simoni climbs the climb to Morzine on Saturday's stage of the Tour de France, he’ll be pedalling a Cannondale lighter than the one he used to win the Giro d'Italia. It's so light it breaches the UCI minimum weight rule. Simoni and the rest of the Saeco team will be wearing 'Legalize my Cannondale' jerseys to publicise the bike, the brand and the UCI's insistence on sticking to Rule #1.3.019

Simoni to hang weights on his ‘Dale; Saeco jersey graphic aims to dislodge UCI frame-weight rule

“We know there are a lot of ‘scary-light’ bikes out there, bikes that are very light but also very fragile,” said Saskia Stock, Cannondale’s vice president of marketing in Europe.

"So we understand the intent behind the UCI’s rule. But when designed correctly, bikes can be both light and durable. It’s frustrating to have to abide by a blanket ruling that gives no regard to the research and development or testing that goes into our designs.”

Simoni’s new bike passed strength and fatigue testing at Cannondale’s $6m Experimental Stress Analysis Lab facility (ESAL). It has a carbon fibre top tube, down tube and seat tube, with welded aluminum head tube and tube joints to complete the front triangle. The seatstays and chainstays are also aluminum, and the bike is equipped with Cannondale’s lightweight Hollowgram crankset and bottom bracket.

The Saeco team jerseys during the alpine stages will sport “Legalize My Cannondale” logos on the side panels and on the chest. This is aimed at dislodging UCI Rule # 1.3.019, which states that a bike must have a minimum weight of 6.8 kilograms (14.99 pounds) in order to compete in UCI-sanctioned road races. Bicycles built with Cannondale’s existing Optimo frame – or with Simoni’s new, even lighter frame – can easily fall below the 6.8 kg minimum weight. In fact, Simoni’s bike will have several brass weights attached to its top tube to ensure compliance with the UCI mandate.

So does Cannondale expect the UCI to give Saeco a special exemption for their lightweight frames?

“No, but we’d like the UCI to consider changing the basic regulation," said Stock.

"We’d certainly support a rule that protected riders by requiring frames of any weight to meet sensible strength and durability standards. We’d even be happy to help the UCI develop those tests. But to select an arbitrary minimum weight requirement discourages innovation, and it does little to protect the riders.”

On the Cannondale website there’s a tongue-in-cheek suggested rule change:

UCI Rule # 1.3.019: "The weight of the bicycle cannot be less [than] 6.8kg."

Sub-section A: "Unless that bicycle is a Cannondale."


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