Something I wrote on this today..... with some additions. Yes, its long, I don't even recommend reading it. So in short - meh.
UCI claiming the new Bont 'ugly clog' breaks rule 1.3.033.. “It is forbidden to wear non-essential items of clothing or items designed to influence the performances of a rider such as reducing air resistance or modifying the body of the rider (compression, stretching, support)."
Frank Schleck ran foul of the UCI overlords when using, what they claimed to be a 'CamelBack' hydration device in the 7km Corsica TT earlier this year. Had he worn it on his back, and used it to drink at least once, he'd have a valid argument. But inflating it, running it backwards on his chest, and never drinking - there is little doubt this was used for aerodynamic advantage. For all the bashing the UCI are subjected to, the pro teams and their sponsors are pushing the limits and crying innocent when they're busted.
It is no wonder when Bont release the pointy nut buster that is their 'aero shoe', the UCI responds. Well, we hope it was the UCI. According to the SBS Cycling Central report they've only received a letter sent to their generic email listed on their website. I wonder if they verified its origin? I hope so. Not hard to fudge something like this up. Bont will be getting more than their share of free marketing out of all this. Bont's own website is using this 'ban' as marketing - mocking up their own 'UCI approved' logo with a 'UCI banned' logo, So the saying rings true, any publicity......
Mike Tomalaris' snap poll on Twitter resulted in him claiming 100% opposition to the decision. He must have only reviewed the against answers, my 'meh' didn't register on the scale of 1 or 0. Lots of standard "ban TT helmets next", "they allow skin suits"... "ban sleeping and eating".... ra ra raaaa we cyclists love a good argument... I didn't see anyone mention aero shoe covers.. which is more relevant to the discussion, no?
So how effective are these banned clogs? A quick tour of the Bont website lists all the marketing buzzwords "stiffness", "power", "efficiency"..... enough fluff to straighten your monocoque, yet no DATA. No wind tunnel tests. No drag data. Not even the good old 'x seconds saved in a 40km TT'..... though a 40km TT is a rare event here in Australia. Even the nationals falls a few km short of the 40km.
Nevertheless, even if independently tested wind tunnel data shows these produce more drag than the Sydney Mardi Gras over a standard road shoe - they are clearly designed to influence the performances of a rider such as reducing air resistance or modifying the body of the rider. A claim plastered all over their marketing material. So what is the debate here? If nothing more, this should highlight the need to submit prototypes to the UCI before a company invests in pushing "every known boundary in terms manufacturing processes and aerodynamics." (Bont's own claim).
Back to reality. Who does this decision impact? As a TT enthusiast, not me, unless they produce some real data first, and the cost of purchasing a TT specific shoe is well south of their standard road shoe. That isn't going to happen. For now, I'll TT in my everyday/everything shoe. And for special occasions I'll slip over the yet-to-be-banned $15 booty covers.
To finish up.... a quote from Bont, "After all, your feet are the fastest moving part of a bike." This holds true, but only if you forget to put your wheels on.