Specialized 'disappointed' at UCI head sock ban, highlights 18-month delay

US company says the decision "greatly impacts our riders and teams" as governing body outlaws 'non-essential' component of the TT5 helmet

Clock10:08, Wednesday 6th March 2024
Primož Roglič in the head-socked TT5 at the 2024 Paris-Nice

© Getty Images

Primož Roglič in the head-socked TT5 at the 2024 Paris-Nice

Specialized has expressed its disappointment with the UCI’s decision to ban the ‘head sock’ on its TT5 helmet, with a subtle nod to the time it has taken the sport’s governing body to come to the decision.

The TT5 was introduced on the eve of the 2022 Tour de France, featuring an enlarged design with wide sides and a flat back, but the headline-stealer was the head sock, an integrated tube of cloth that wraps around the rider’s face and neck.

It will, however, be consigned to the history books, as the UCI ruled on Tuesday that it counts as a ‘non-essential’, component, with the ban coming into force on 2 April.

Read more: UCI bans Specialized head sock and fires warning to Visma's new TT helmet

“After 18 months of racing, the UCI has informed us of their decision to ban the headsock feature that is manufactured on the current TT5,” Specialized’s Leader of Helmets, Alex Jerome, told GCN in a statement.

The UCI’s decision came at a time when time trial helmets were in the spotlight after the launch of the new Giro Aerohead II and Rudy Project Wingdream, two helmets that are now under threat as the UCI launched a review of its regulations in the same announcement as the head sock ban.

Nevertheless, the UCI stated that it conducted a “thorough process” and consulted with Specialized, although Specialized’s statement carries a hint of bemusement regarding the timing of the news.

“Specialized is disappointed in this decision as it greatly impacts our riders and teams that have spent a significant amount of time preparing with the equipment that was UCI approved,” Jerome continued.

Read more: Visma-Lease a Bike defend Giro helmet in face of UCI’s ‘in-depth analysis’

It is unclear what happens from here with the TT5 helmet. Specialized did not comment on its next steps for supplying its sponsored pro teams, such as Remco Evenepoel’s Soudal Quick-Step and Primož Roglič’s Bora-Hansgrohe, at races from 2 April.

The head sock is manufactured as a part of the helmet, rather than a removable element, so a new line would have to be manufactured without the head sock.

“We’ll continue pushing the boundaries of innovation to support our athletes with the highest performing product possible,” was all Specialized would say on the future of the helmet.

For more of the latest updates, visit our tech news page.

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