The Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur team were forced into a last-minute scramble before the start of stage 2 at Étoile de Bessèges, after the UCI issued a last-minute ban preventing them from using a new pedal prototype just one hour before the race.
The pedals, a newly-developed product from French equipment brand Ekoi, were spotted last week by LeCycle. They feature a huge platform and what appears to be a new cleat system that requires proprietary shoes.
According to claims from the Ekoi CEO, they are eight watts faster – albeit the benchmark for this comparison was unconfirmed – and they have a stack height of just 8mm. They are reportedly set to be known as PW8, and Ekoi told Cyclingnews they will launch sometime around September.
French publication MatosVelo reports that just one hour before Stage 2 of the French stage race was due to start, the UCI stepped in and told the team they no longer had the right to use the prototypes, despite having used them the prior day on stage 1.
Rather than an outright ban on the product, such as we’ve seen with turned-in levers recently, this ban was more the result of a paperwork technicality. An authorization file for the use of a prototype has apparently been submitted, but it was yet to be validated by the sport’s governing body.
The bombshell reportedly sent the team into a scramble, forcing them to beg and borrow pedals and cleats from other teams. Given the pedals require proprietary shoes, the riders’ Shimano and Look compatible shoes were safely – but unhelpfully – back at the hotel, more than 30 minutes away.
With no chance of getting there and back before the flag drop, some also borrowed footwear from competitors, while incredibly, others were forced to buy second-hand shoes from an on-site kit stall.
Cyclingnews has reached out to both the team and the UCI for further information.