Cycling Time Trials (CTT) will vote on a potential ban to the use of body fairings at next month's AGM, that being the practise of altering a rider's profile for aerodynamic benefit by inserting a hydration pack or other padding underneath clothing.
The governing body which oversees time trialling in England and Wales will discuss and vote on a motion proposed by Dr Bryce Dyer, an Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Department Design and Engineering at Bournemouth University who is also a committee member of CTT South DC and sits on one of CTT's working groups.
Dr Dyer's proposal would limit the use of body fairings which were widely seen at this year's RTTC National 10-mile Championships won by Josh Charlton, the podium completed by Richard Bussell and retired WorldTour pro Alex Dowsett, whose YouTube video from the day showed numerous riders with large bulges from their jerseys owing to an item stuffed inside for aero gain.
British pro triathlete, multiple-time Ironman champion and long-distance time trial specialist Joe Skipper also raised eyebrows when pictures of his position at Ironman Texas emerged online...
A CTT rule already prevents fairings on competitors' bikes, Dr Dyer told us, but his proposal would also see clothing required to conform to the body without fairings, devices or padding which alters the aerodynamic profile of the rider. Nor would riders be able to wear a hydration pack or store items in front of the body during events of 30 miles or less.
"It's not so much that shoving a drinks bottle down your front is particularly outrageous, it's where it goes next," he told road.cc. "There's no real harm in a drinks bottle necessarily but without being checked I think it could get pretty out of control pretty fast."
Dr Dyer also made the proposal, announced by CTT in April, for a road bike category to be introduced to all time trials to "get more people time trialling". At the heart of his latest proposal is the desire to avoid putting people off time trialling who might otherwise take part.
"I do hear people say it's a cheap advantage, you can get a bottle of Volvic for a pound, why not do it and get the gain? What's so unfair about it?" he continued. "But the point here is that a significant amount of people will get a gain from it so what's the point?
"If everyone's getting the gain anyway then there's no added value by including it, but there are possible negative consequences as it could be seen as off-putting to people when you see people looking like the Michelin Man.
"People might say we're hardly a sport where everyone looks classy... we wear Lycra suits in ridiculously cold temperatures with stupid helmets on, looking ridiculous is a hallmark of the sport but I think again we've got to look at this in the sense of time trialling has seen its numbers diminish in the UK in the last few years. Covid then didn't help participation levels either, anything that's a potential barrier really needs to be at least discussed.
"The reason I proposed this isn't really to get the ban approved, but to get it at least discussed at the AGMs so that people can air their views and discuss this carefully, rather than let it run rampant and then have a problem that causes damage to the sport that you then can't roll back particularly easily, like with swimsuits and swimming in the noughties."
Commenting on his other recent succesful proposal, the introduction of a road bike category at every CTT event, Dr Dyer said: "The idea was to broaden participation out... the very high end of the sport has become very science based, a lot of us are in wind tunnels, and that is intimidating to people because it is not just about the facts sometimes, it's about the perception and the optics.
"The road bike category was an attempt to create another racing class that would give more harmonious optics to people but also to widen opportunity to people and inclusivity to people who might be looking at the sport, trying to get back to simplicity."
Speaking about the drive to "get more people time trialling", CTT's chair Andrea Parish said back in April that there is a desire to get time trialling back to the "every person's sport".
"There's still space for elite athletes, but we're also creating space that people can occupy in different ways and we're making sure that their achievements are properly recognised," she said.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.