Bike protest by Heras and Saiz

Roberto Heras rides an illegal bike to this morning's start in order to this morning's start to make

Roberto Heras rides an illegal bike to this morning's start in order to this morning's start to make
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Manolo Saiz and Roberto Heras this morning staged a joint protest against what the Liberty Seguros pair consider to be a "ridiculous" rule governing the minimum weight of professional competition bikes. In what team manager Saiz admitted was a "symbolic" gesture rather than one intended to impose his will, Heras reported to the race commissaires in Saint Flour with a bike weighing just 6kg, some 800 grams lighter than the UCI minimum limit. Predictably, Heras was quickly dispatched and ordered to saddle up on a regulation, team issue BH machine for today's 164km 11th stage. When the Spanish climber complied, he could at least do so safe in the knowledge that he and Saiz had made a stand. of sorts. "I find it ridiculous that, as a result of this rule, a cyclo-tourist can ride a better bike than a professional," the ever-incendiary Saiz scoffed this morning. "All bike manufacturers are trying to reduce the weight of their bikes, yet we can't take advantage of the technology. To reach the 6.8km minimum you have to make compromises on technology and performance. The UCI wants to modernise, with the Pro Tour and so forth, so I say let's apply that spirit to equipment as well. I hope that before the Pro Tour starts there will be a serious debate about this. We made our protest because it is an absurd rule." Following a similar path, back in January, during a Rabobank training camp, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen and Michael Boogerd sat down and came up with their wishes for a perfect bike for the mountains and on Tuesday's stage to Guret they tested it for the first time, writes Susanne Horsdal. A Colnago carbon wonder weighing just 6.9kg. Since only the three riders have this bike it's hard to estimate a price but according to Michael Rasmussen approximately 20,000 euros isn't far off.
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