Elite cycling team EF Pro Cycling have been fined CHF 4,500 (£3,700) by the sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for wearing non-compliant clothing during podium obligations during the Giro D’Italia.
A tri-partite collaboration between EF Pro Cycling, cycling brand Rapha and skateboarding brand Palace produced the offending garments which were a white jersey with purple dots adorned with the 'crazy duck' and duck face helmets. EF Pro Cycling and Rapha certainly seem to be sticking to their mission statement; "to disrupt the status quo in professional racing."
But what rules did EF Pro Cycling actually break? Pursuant to the "UCI cycling regulations - Part 1 - General organisation of cycling as a sport";
- 1.3.026 When competing, all riders shall wear a jersey with sleeves and a pair of shorts, possibly in the form of a one-piece skinsuit. By shorts it is understood that these are shorts that come above the knee. Sleeveless jerseys shall be forbidden.
- 1.3.027 Jerseys shall be sufficiently distinct from world champions', UCI cup and classification leaders' and national jerseys to avoid confusion.
- 1.3.028 Save in cases expressly provided for in the regulations, no distinctive jersey may be awarded or worn.
In changing their clothing, EF Pro Cycling were actually trying to comply with Rule 1.3.027 to ensure their usual pink kit didn’t clash with the Maglia Rosa (the pink jersey worn by the leader of the of the general classification in the Giro D’Italia). As to the other rules, prima facie the crazy duck kit does not appear to breach them.
However, a UCI statement accused EF Pro Cycling of breaching procedural rules relating to jerseys;
"All jersey must first be submitted to the UCI in their final version for approval … including in the case of a temporary change of jersey for an event, in particular to avoid it resembling another team jersey or a leader’s jersey in the general classification, as well as any prohibited sponsorship....The EF Pro Cycling team displayed a different jersey than the one previously submitted to the UCI during the presentation of the teams for the Giro d’Italia 2020."
The UCI stated EF Pro Cycling had deliberately failed to comply with the regulatory process and consequently the UCI Commissaires’ Panel imposed a fine of CHF 500 to each of the eight riders and one director. However, they did invite EF Pro Cycling to "regularise" the situation which allowed EF Pro Cycling to start the race with the crazy duck jersey.
This didn't stop EF Pro Cycling team boss slamming the UCI by tweeting;
“Oh UCI Cycling … you guys are always looking out for the best interest of the sport, aren’t ya? Thanks for the $4000 of fines for wearing our crazy ducks. Hope David Lappartient [UCI President] enjoys his dinner – on us! Salud! "
This prompted the UCI to clarify in their statement that the proceeds of the fines are distributed 50% to the National Federation organising the event and 50% to the UCI.
The regulatory reprimand is unlikely to deter EF Pro Cycling, with the crazy duck jersey proving to be a marketing masterstroke. It is surely only a matter of time before EF Pro Cycling collide with the UCI again.