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There’s been a degree of hullabaloo on social media since Tuesday when IAM cycling Tweeted out that its preferred jersey design was not permitted.
— ? Team IAM Cycling (@IAM_Cycling) January 20, 2015
In the first, non-permitted version, the rider’s name (Clement, signifying Stef Clement) appeared directly below the IAM name. The second – approved – version also showed the name, but it was in smaller lettering and was positioned above the sponsor title plus its website address.
The UCI’s reasoning is that the space where the surname previously appeared is reserved for sponsors.
The tweet quickly created a cacophony of dissent, with some of the team’s fans and others on Twitter expressing criticism of the UCI for what they said was an unreasonably bureaucratic stance.
However the team clarified the situation to CyclingTips on Wednesday, stated that notice was actually given months ago that the preferred layout would not be allowed.
“Under the UCI rules, they thought that this should not be permitted on the races,” said the team’s owner Michel Thetáz. “But in any other places, on the stage podium or whatever, we understood that it was okay. Our supporters really like it, so we use it in any other places outside the races.
“Podium is great, any other places is great, such as training, meeting fans, participation in [non-UCI] events as well. We want to be up to the expectations of our supporters, obviously.”
So why the controversy this week? Thetáz explained that the team’s tweet was simply in relation to repeated enquiries from fans rather than a reaction to a new UCI directive.
“We didn’t find out yesterday,” he clarified. “We answered a question yesterday because there were questions coming up all the time saying, ‘hey, this is great, why don’t you use it in races as well?’ However the UCI already said no at the end of November.”
Thetáz said that the team wants to see evolution and change in the sport and that it intends trying to push for approval again at a later point.
“As a contrarian, you must try to make progress,” he said. “Okay, we understand the UCI for their own reasons say, ‘no, it can’t be done.’ But we will come back again [in the future] and at some stage we think it is going to be accepted.”
The team stepped up to the WorldTour over the winter and thus has automatic entry to the three Grand Tours plus the other top events. It has already clocked up one victory, with Heinrich Haussler becoming Australian road race champion this month.