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Lotto-Soudal banned from using aerodynamic speed gel at the Tour de Suisse

Joseph Delves
12 Jun 2018

Gel containing miniature balls had been slathered over riders legs at the Criterium du Dauphine

Pro cycling's latest air-cheating ruse has been banned by the UCI after just one outing. Comprising a gel containing hundreds of small spheres, the messy looking innovation had been seen on the legs of the Lotto-Soudal squad during the team time-trial at the Criterium du Dauphine.

With the team managing a solid third-place finish, the product has now been banned.

Following the race, team manager Marc Sergeant was informed by Jean-Christophé Péraud, the UCI Materials and Equipment manager, that the gel will no longer be allowed.

A final decision is set to be made on its legality before the Tour de France.

It was therefore absent from the team’s collective legs during the opening team time-trial at the current Tour de Suisse. Lotto-Soudal had likey hoped their riders would also be able to employ the gel in the final individual time-trial too.

Similar to the dimples on a golf ball, the weird looking gel is designed to create minor disruptions in the air as it passes over the riders.

This can in turn lower drag by allowing it to flow to further around the back of the object to which the gel is applied, decreasing the size of the wake it creates.

UCI rules prohibit riders from wearing clothing or ski suits to which non-essential elements have been added with a view to improving their aerodynamic properties.

Including fairing and similar designs, the UCI believe the gel to be in contravention of this.

Sergeant had asked why the gel was banned when Team Sky continue to use skinsuits that some judge to have supplementary aerodynamic elements.

A repeated bone of contention, the UCI has ruled that the dimpled panels on Team Sky’s Castelli skinsuits constitute a structural part of the garment, and so their use remains legal.

Lotto-Soudal's weird looking goop is a sign of how far teams are prepared to go in order to gain even the slimmest of advantages.

Although for style reasons alone, this one is probably best consigned to the bin after just a single appearance.

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