Cycling’s next controversy?

September 29, 2011

Tim DeWaele was the first to publish photos of Mark Cavendish in his HTC rainbow jersey (more of Tim’s Cavendish photos here):

This jersey appears to violate the UCI regulations regarding the rainbow jersey in at least seven areas:

  • The advertising on the front and back of the jersey has to fit in a box 10cm high (with the exception of the apparel manufacturer’s logo, MOA in this case). Obviously the Specialized S does not fit in a 10cm high box together with Highroad.
  • The Lezyne logo at the bottom is not allowed. Maybe he can tuck in his jersey inside his bibs, that would solve this particular problem (though maybe not entirely “pro”).
  • Logos on the side of the jersey are not allowed
  • Logo on the chest should be UCI logo, not WorldTour logo
  • UCI logo should be on the right chest, not the left
  • The logos on the rainbow stripes on the collar must be the UCI logos, not the sponsor logos.
  • The rainbow stripes on the sleeves need to be at least 35mm from the edge of the sleeve. I never understood this rule, in the old days the rainbow stripes WERE the edge of the jersey and that looked way nicer, but I digress.

Before you even produce a jersey, you need to submit it for approval to the UCI. So what happened here? Did the UCI approve a jersey that completely violates their rules, did MOA produce without submitting the design, did they make this one for the sponsors without intention to race in it?

The latter wouldn’t necessarily get them off the hook because the UCI claims to own the rainbow stripes, so making anything with those requires their permission. I have to add, the UCI has been very weak in defending their design for years (witness the rainbow as part of the Colnago logo and the Ritchey WCS series for example).

In fact, even approval from the UCI doesn’t explicitly get you off the hook. The rules state that a fine is due if the sponsor logo dimensions don’t meet the requirements, they do not state that a design approval frees you from that threat. Of course you’d have a pretty strong case, but still.

We’ll see where this goes. And don’t think we’re talking chump change here. The MINIMUM fine for producing an incorrect rainbow jersey is CHF 10,000 per event!

42 Responses to “Cycling’s next controversy?”

  1. I’d say this was a pre-manufactured MOA jersey for the expected outcome.
    If that was not the case, then they need to perhaps hire a more UCI compliant designer……………

  2. Cole Says:

    Perhaps because highroad is folding they decided not to enforce it?

  3. Cavendish was complaining this morning about not having his World Champs kit yet, so I’d guess this is just a promo mockup to satisfy the sponsors’ demands for a press releasable photo.

  4. beev Says:

    How many fines did Garmin pay for Thor (note the Castelli logo)?

  5. Joe Bond Says:

    The jersey was created for publicity purposes only. Unless he wears it in a race it breaks no UCI regulations whatsoever.

  6. Are there similar rules for the bike? Because some teams manage to screw up the paint job.

    • Well, that’s clearly not a rainbow stripe so no rules apply! :-)

      • beev Says:

        i agree – they are clearly only “accenting” – may even be a pantone difference too ;-)

        moving slightly off topic, but still staying on UCI rules, is the Cervelo S5 required to display a “UCI approved” sticker, or did they drop that requirement?

  7. you’ve got copyright permission to republish the photo ok? Or is the photographer happy with the PR anyway…

    • ancker Says:

      Republishing a photograph for purpose of reporting, such as this article, fall under Fair Use. AFAIK there are no copyright issues here.

      • So… whilst we are on the topic of intellectual property… the above statement is not correct. Firstly, Fair Use is a US law doctrine – in the UK and other common law countries it is known as “fair dealing” . Fair Use permits quite broad non-commercial use of a copyrighted work, whilst fair dealing is a narrower concept with limited exceptions to fair use.

        Tim de Waele is Belgian and his business is Belgian based. Belgian copyright covers his work. Belgium is a civil law country (as are most mainland European countries). Civil law countries do not automatically recognise the concept of fair dealing or fair use – although there are limits to copyright protection under Belgian law which could, potentially, mean that Tim’s picture can be used without consent for a news or critique. Tim’s copyright in his work would be attract protection in other countries on the basis of “national treatment” under the Berne Convention i.e. type of quid pro quo protection. Belgians protect US copyright works, and the US in turn protects Belgian works (although it is far more complicated than that!)

        Fair dealing limits “suspends” copyright for certain types of non-commercial use provided that that the use is still fair. Arguably, a licence would be needed to publish the picture in the blog. Anyway, Tim wouldnt be so peeved with the use in this blog (he is a fair guy himself) – provided that people dont see his work as fair game (pardon the “fair” puns)

        • Thanks for setting the record straight on fair use. In this case, it doesn’t really matter as I have something better anyway: Tim’s permission.

        • Good stuff. Am no expert but kind of assumed a) permission would have been sought and /or b) the photographer would not mind anyway; I wouldn’t.
          Am a recent cycling convert. Really like Gerard’s blogs and the comments; all good fun; gets me thinking.

  8. When will we see Cav flippin’ the bird in the rainbow stripes?

  9. Chris Says:

    Could this jersey have been photoshopped? Wouldn’t that make more sense? It could have been a stock photo of him from a previous shoot and then modified. Or would that be asking too much of photoshop?

  10. Bob Says:

    looks like we always agreed when we have the same object to be bashed….. I’m starting to like this blog, haha

  11. Bernhard Says:

    Riding for Sky (with their tidy jersey sponsors) in 2012 it will be much more easier to fulfill the UCI rules. ;-)

  12. the trademark design of the rainbow stripe is an interesting one. How they got that past OAMI …? or that it has not been challenged elsewhere, worldwide.
    Any evidence of a lawsuit, opposition challenge, or infringement other than within the UCI ‘culture’…?

    While the Rainbow stripe is a collective of 5 colours that match the Olympic rings (that’s another matter, as the design and word has a stronger claim) i find it incredible that the striped ‘colours’ have a valid (enforceable) mark.

    As Gerard points out, the Cervelo with the stripe was a different format, but to trademark colours……

    Complimenti UCI

  13. paddy Says:

    I wondered how long it would take for Cavendish to abuse the rainbow jersey. This was quicker than even i thought and no doubt he has already started making money out of it whether its illegal or not.

    The fact that he is only capable of racing over 500m maximum withouta lot of help makes it even more of a crime for him to wear the rainbow jersey of the ROAD RACING world champion.

    • Thanks for your comment but I disagree. He has shown total commitment and dedication to win this title, unlike some of his rivals. And you can only win in the last 500m if you stay with the pack the first 259.5km.

      Granted, the pacl may not have made that as hard as they should have, but you can’t blame him for that.

    • ancker Says:

      This is perhaps the most uneducated comment on a blog I have ever seen. The fact he can ride 150miles and then still have the legs to sprint at 40mph for the last 500m is amazing.

      Road racing isn’t all about climbing, just as it isn’t all about sprinting. Sometimes the sprinters win, sometimes the climbers do.

      • paddy Says:

        His rivals also ride 150 miles and then sprint 40mph.
        And yes it does show an amazing level of fitness by ALL the riders.

        The reason Cavendish wins is, that he has the legs to sprint a bit faster than than others at the finish of races because he does no work during the race and has a full team to support him. Most of his rivals have only have 2/3 riders to support them at most and have to work harder throughout the race. Before my comments are called uneducated again, both Boonen and Pettachi made these observations independently pre the Tour.

        And I agree road racing is not all about climbing. However, remember at Geelong it finished in a bunch sprint. Cavendish only had 2 support riders and failed to complete the race. Another sprinter with only 2 other teammates won the race. That was an effort worthy of the INDIVIDUAL road race jersey.

        This road race for the rainbow jersey should not be about team time trialing, skinsuits done up to the neck, and aero helmets.

    • Simon E Says:

      If you don’t like Cavendish just say so. THere’s no need to dress it up in terms that merely expose your ignorance of cycle sport.

      Cavendish won because he was not fatigued, was in a good position when the sprint began and was faster than the others. All the teams have the same opportunities but Team GB played their best hand and won. Australia and Germany both did a good job but in the end Cavendish won a fair fight and crossed the line first.

      He knows he won’t be able to compete on other Worlds courses, but that’s the nature of the sport. I’m sure Cadel Evans wouldn’t expect to win a 500m sprint any more than Cavendish could have beaten Evans at Mendrisio.

      Regardless of his sometimes inappropriate gestures he will do his best to honour the jersey. I have not seen a rider for quite some years who understands and respects the history of the sport as much as him.

      • I have to disagree with the last bit of your comment. I think with Hushovd and Evans, in the past two years, we’ve had two excellent cycling ambassadors and respectful world champions who honoured the jersey.

  14. Paddy, drawing a comparison between Thor Hushovd & Mark Cavendish is wide of the mark. Both different riders, with different skills.
    Cavendish won a relatively ‘flat’ worlds circuit, which was a fast race, with various teams failing to add anything resembling aggression.
    That team GB won after executing a perfect plan, well that is to their credit. Everyone knew what they would do, and they nailed it.
    Hushovd lost ‘his’ race by failing to pay attention – caught behind a crash, was in harsh terms, his own fault.
    The pointy end of a bike race is where it all happens.

    Cavendish has to ride to his strengths, which he does.
    He wins by an incredible burst of speed, which few of any ever match. The Australian team were ready (in their minds) for a sprint, but even with all their leadout, they got nowhere other than a hesitant second.

    Cycling is a team sport. If your team is 2 or 10 you still better make the best of them, if you want to win.

  15. TomH Says:

    It’s not just about Mark Cavendish’ jersey. The same design was made for Tony Martin who will wear it at the Tour of Beijing.

  16. Ellis Says:

    They got the order of the rainbow stripes wrong on Hushovd’s S3 there:

    Now that is worthy of a fine…!

  17. Steve Says:


    • Thanks for the reply but I don’t understand it. I’ve got nothing better to do than writing a blog I love to write, while it appears you’ve got nothing better to do than reading a blog you hate. Why do I need to get a life?

      As is often the case with my blog posts, they use a timely event to spark a debate about a wider topic. Just like it happened here in the comments so far. Granted, some are more successful than others, but it’s good to see people realize there are rules about just about anything in this sport.

  18. Moskowe Says:

    Unlike Steve, I actually think this is a really interesting article. I didn’t know there were so many rules concerning the design of a world champion’s jersey. Coming from the UCI though, I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

    I like the Cavendish hate going on. People are never satisfied when their favorite riders don’t win. And when someone is successful, it gets a lot worse.
    Anyway, I hope for him that he has just as successful a year with the stripes as Hushovd did.

  19. Note: Post from “wanker” removed. You’re all free to say as you please, but don’t be rude and boring at the same time. My house, my rules.

  20. ea Says:

    thanks for the informative / well written blog.
    i do enjoy it reading it everyday.

  21. alex Says:

    Here’s Tony Martin actually competing in a jersey that appears to be outside the rules:

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