UCI ban skinsuits and open face helmets for mountain bike competition

By Matthew Cole | Wednesday, October 22, 2008 10.45am

The UCI, the governing body for competitive cycling, have changed the rules concerning mountain biking to ban the wearing of “tight-fitting clothing” as well as insisting that full-face helmets must be worn when racing and practising for downhill and four cross.

The wearing of skinsuits has been a point of contention over the last year, notably in the Australian round of the mountain bike world cup where Tracy Moseley, wearing a skinsuit, won the women’s race by four seconds from Rachel Atherton.

Atherton wasn't happy that Moseley used a skinsuit, which being much more aerodynamic than loose clothing, would have given her an advantage.

"Fair enough to Tracy if she wants to do that to win, but for the sport and the longevity of the sport, to wear cool race kit and to make an image for yourself is more important than the odd win here and there," said Atherton.

Other notable additions to the new rulebook include a strong recommendation from the UCI that riders wear “protection for the nape of the neck and the cervical vertebrae”, so we expect to see the Leatt-Brace and other such protection devices being worn by the downhill racers.

So depending on how the rules are interpreted, it also means we've seen the last of Cedric Gracia and Brian Lopes in their customary pisspots.

Riders must also wear back, elbow, knee and shoulder protectors, padding on shins and thighs and long sleeved shirts.

What do you make of the new changes? Give us your comments in the box below.

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