The UCI has always advised riders to wear helmets, and it’s been obligatory for youth riders for some years. But now the UCI has indicated it will pick a fight with the peloton over helmet use, and the Switzerland-based organisation aims to win.
In 1991, helmets weren’t the lightweight, aerodynamic, sponsor-friendly devices they are now. It’s likely the pro peleton will not be able to fight off the UCI’s unilateral decision to make professional riders wear helmets when competiting in UCI-sanctioned events.
Unilateral? Well, not quite. In fact, the UCI’s latest statement is actually backing for a resolution adopted by the Professional Cyclists’ Association which is promoting mandatory helmet use for pro cyclists.
"The statutory aspects of this initiative (financial penalties, loss of UCI points or other sanctions to be decided) are currently being examined by the relevant authorities," said a statement from the UCI, released on Friday.
"This preventative measure is extremely important in the context of modern cycling, and we hope to be able to introduce it with the briefest possible delay."
It’s possible a new ruling could be in place for the start of Giro d’Italia on May 10th, although the French and Spanish professional cyclist’s associations have already lodged opposition to the likely new ruling and this could scupper its introduction until next year.
Helmets would have to be worn at all times during racing, including on mountain climbs.