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UCI issues statement on hookless tyre debate

Amid the ongoing debate surrounding the safety and suitability of hookless rim technology, the UCI has weighed in with a statement, saying that it has “decided to study the situation as a matter of urgency.”

The situation came to the fore recently in an incident on stage 5 of the UAE Tour, when seemingly out of nowhere, Lotto Dstny’s Belgian breakaway specialist crashed after his tyre blew out. 

The TV cameras subsequently showed Thomas De Gendt’s bike leaning against a barrier, with the tyre half dismounted and a damaged foam insert tangled around the fork. 

Escape Collective published an analysis, citing possible compatibility issues between the hookless Zipp 454NSW wheel and the Vittoria Corsa tubeless tyres. 

Then over the following days, the president of the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), Adam Hansen, weighed in with his concerns about hookless in an interview with Velo, saying “One day, there will be a mass crash.” He then followed that up up on X, formerly Twitter, by saying “The CPA is not happy with riders racing on [a] hookless system in the peloton.”

De Gendt also took to X to ask for images of the incident, saying “I would like to know what I hit with my front wheel.”

Meanwhile, at the concurrent one-day race, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, the team’s mechanics spoke to Cycling News, remaining steadfast that their setup is “100% within the rules,” stating “we use, obliged by the UCI, 28mm tyres on a 23mm or 25mm inner rim. That is according to all prescriptions by the UCI, from Zipp, and from Vittoria.”

Today, the UCI has issued a short statement promising, as above, to “study the situation.”

In full, it states: “In light of a series of recent incidents involving the use of hookless rims and tubeless tyres (a combination commonly referred to as hookless) in professional road cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has decided to study the situation as a matter of urgency, with a view to taking a rapid decision in the interest of rider safety.

“These measures will be communicated as soon as possible.

“The UCI shall continue to work closely with the stakeholders of cycling and equipment manufacturers to ensure that appropriate measures are taken both in the short and long term. This review and the decisions that will follow are part of the UCI’s policy to promote rider safety, one of its major concerns.”

It’s not confirmed exactly what will be studied as part of this process. 

Currently, the European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO) – a working group comprising stakeholders from multiple wheel and tyre brands in the industry – publishes compatibility guidelines for wheels and tyres. Its guidelines were adjusted last year in line with the ever-changing trend toward preferring wider tyres and rims. In doing so, it removed a handful of combinations from its recommendations. 

Despite this, both Zipp and Vittoria assure that the combination used by De Gendt was compatible. They issued concurrent statements blaming an errant rock on the course, which they both believe De Gendt hit, forcing the tyre off the rim. 

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
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