In July 2014 the ITU (International Triathlon Union) announced changes to the drafting rules for triathlon events. At the time this caused limited ripples in the triathlon community as we all entered and competed in our planned events. With the ruling becoming affective in 2016 I have seen this topic crop up with increasing frequency in recent weeks over triathlon chat forums. This prompted us to dedicate this weeks blog to the topic and explain the ITU changes to the drafting rules. To help explain what this means for you and if you should be getting rid of your beautiful TT bike and selling that TT bicycle now.
ITU drafting annoucement
The ruling announced that ITU Age Group Sprint championships would become draft legal preventing the use of TT bikes. The ruling made no further comment on Olympic or longer distance age-group events. This ruling also extended to include duathlon age-group championships.
Impacts of drafting rules changes
So what does this mean to your average athlete competing? Firstly this ruling only impacts Sprint events so if your racing any other distances carry on business as usual. For those specifically who like to go long and race purely at ironman distance events the official line remains unchanged. All age group athletes are subject to a draft zone 10 metres long and as a result are able to use a TT style bike. Eve for Sprint events this ruling assumes closed road status which most local triathlons are unable to achieve due to costs so again drafting ruling does not apply due to safety considerations.
Evolution of triathlon and drafting
There are two schools of thought on how this will evolve with one being the ruling will be replicated in all other distances in time. The other that this doesn’t suit the nature of all races and would not be applied. Drafting in a race where you have first timers on mountain bikes alongside semi-pros on carbon bullets does not seem in the best interests of the sport. At Trivelo we hope they keep drafting out of local and longer distances allowing the use of TT bikes which seems to be more in keeping with the nature of how the sport has grown up. If the ruling is applied unfortunately it means all TT bikes would be limited to your local time trial events. A poor destiny for such a fine piece of kit.
About the author – Billy is the founder of Trivelo Bikes and a seasoned triathlete although struggling to improve on those PBs year on year and the very proud owner of a Cannondale TT.