UCI does not authorise Bianchi's new air deflectors
The latest generation of the Bianchi Oltre RC, which includes an air deflector on the sides of the headtube, cannot be used in competition as it is an addition with the sole purpose of improving aerodynamics, something that does not comply with the UCI regulations in this respect.
The homologation process of the Bianchi Otltre RC did not include the air deflectors
A few days ago Bianchi presented the new generation of its most aerodynamic model. The new Oltre RC took the aerodynamics of road bikes by including a pair of small spoilers on each side of the steering head tube with the aim of reducing the air pressure in front of the rider's legs and thus reducing the aerodynamic resistance thanks to the fact that less air has to pass through them.
Looking at the pictures of this new bike and taking a closer look at these air deflectors it can be seen that they are not a structural part of the bike but are bolted to the sides of the head tube. Something that is specifically forbidden in article 1.2.034 of the UCI technical regulations which states:
Protective screens, fuselages, fairings or any other device that is added or blended into the structure, and that is destined or have the effect of reducing resistance to air penetration, are prohibited. Aerodynamic assemblies and protuberances on the head tube or elsewhere are prohibited.
This article implies that any element of the frame intended to improve aerodynamics must be part of the frame structure, which is not the case with Bianchi's air deflectors as they are bolted on. In any case, they would not be accepted even if they were made in the same mould as the bike, as their function is not structural but purely aerodynamic.
For such a solution to be acceptable, the holes through which the air enters would have to be in the steering head pipe itself as well as the air deflector channel itself.
Bianchi, aware of this regulation, never presented these air deflectors in the prototype that is sent to the UCI for the homologation process that allows the bikes to be used in competitions protected by the highest international body, opting for the solution of bolting them to the head tube so that they can be removed in the event of having to comply with the UCI regulations.
However, the sportier cyclist will have no problem benefiting from these aerodynamic aids, nor will other typical recipients of these types of aerodynamic bikes such as triathletes, whose sport is much more lax when it comes to setting standards related to material, allowing practically all types of designs.
Despite Bianchi's traditional presence in the racing world, no top-level squad has used its bikes in 2022 after replacing BikeExchange in 2021, which switched to Giant bikes in the recently completed season. Nor are any of the World Tour squads expected to change their current bikes for 2023.