Schleck facing UCI investigation
PARIS (AP) - Cycling's governing body will investigate whether Frank Schleck broke competition rules by wearing a drink pack on his chest that might have given the Luxembourg rider an aerodynamic advantage in his Criterium International victory last month.
Schleck wore the bag during the third and final stage, a 7-kilometer time trial. He finished 12thand held onto the lead overall.
Several riders have used the hydration system in the past and Schleck, who was using it for the first time in a race, was allowed to start the stage by UCI race officials.
Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport first reported the case and said the bag can give an aerodynamic advantage of 2 seconds per kilometer in a time trial.
"An investigation will be launched, so we'll find out what exactly happened. We want to know if there was a breach of the rules,'' UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told The Associated Press.
Schleck's Leopard-Trek team said the rider - who is not known for his time trial abilities - didn't use the bag to reduce air resistance or improve his aerodynamics.
"We are surprised by all the buzz surrounding this,'' team spokesman Tim Vanderjeugd told the AP. "This is not new, and Frank used the Camelbak's hydration bags to hydrate himself. Even during short time trials, it's important to drink.''
Vanderjeugd said he consulted the UCI's documentation regarding drink packs and was adamant the team is in line with UCI rules.
"The system is allowed if it doesn't change the shape of the body, which was the case with Frank,'' Vanderjeugd said. "And the aerodynamics effects are yet to be proved, otherwise everybody would use it.''
Vanderjeugd added that Schleck rode with the drink pack on his chest to figure out whether he will use the device during the Tour de France in July.
"We want to assess the system ahead of the big races, to see if it can be efficient,'' Vanderjeugd said.
Another Leopard Trek rider, Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara, was accused last month of using a revolutionary system on his bike that gave him a substantial advantage over his rivals when he was racing with the Saxo Bank team.