The ITU recently changed the competition guidelines for draft legal racing at the age group level. For Canadian triathletes interested in testing their triathlon skills in a draft legal setting, such as the Ottawa Triathlon age-group national sprint championships, it’s important to know about these guidelines ahead of time.
Triathlon Canada says athletes can prepare themselves for draft-legal races in two ways. They must have ITU-legal equipment and develop and practice their draft legal racing skills.
ITU Equipment Rules and Draft Legal Guidelines
These are the guidelines according to ITU Competition Rules.
- There will be a vertical line touching the front-most point of the saddle which will be no more than 5 centimetres in front of, and no more tan 15 cm behind, a vertical line passing through the centre of the chain wheel axle, and an athlete must not have the capability of adjusting the saddle beyond these lines during competition
- The frame of the bike shall be of a traditional pattern, i.e., built around a closed frame of straight or tapered tubular elements, (which may be round, oval, flattened, teardrop shaped or otherwise in cross-section)
- Only logos of bicycle related products may appear on the athlete’s bicycle
- Wheels shall have at least 12 spokes
- Disc wheels are not allowed.
- Only traditional drop handlebars are permitted.
- The handlebars must be plugged;
- Clip-ons are not allowed.
When drafting, athletes should:
- Be predictable with all actions. Maintain a steady straight line and avoid braking or changing direction suddenly. Remember that there are riders following closely from behind.
- Point out and call out any road hazards ahead. These include potholes, drain grates, stray animals, opening car doors, sticks or stones, parked cars, etc.
- Not overlap wheels. A slight direction change or gust of wind could easily cause athletes to touch wheels and fall.
- When climbing hills, avoid following a wheel too closely. Many riders often lose their momentum when rising out of the saddle on a hill, which can cause a sudden deceleration. This can often catch a rider who is following too closely, resulting in a fall from a wheel touch.
- Not panic if you brush shoulders, hands or bars with another rider. Try to stay relaxed in your upper body to absorb any bumps. This is a part of racing in close bunches and is quite safe provided riders do not panic, brake or change direction.