The UCI have updated their “stick to the road” rule.
Here’s the new wording with the additions in bold:
"It is strictly prohibited to use sidewalks/pavements, paths or cycle paths that do not form part of the course (i.e. those separated by kerbs, verges, level changes or other physical features) if a dangerous situation is created inter alia for other riders, spectators or race personnel by such action or if such action procures a significant advantage over other riders.”
It’s an attempt to clear things up but the wording seems ambiguous. Rather than tidying up a rule we seem to have more questions and uncertainty.
What is a “dangerous situation”, for example is hopping over a kerb dangerous given a rider could mess it up ad crash, is it only dangerous if an accident happens? Note the “significant advantage”, what does it mean, how to we weigh up a smoother dirt path versus pavé, it’s not clear in black and white text yet alone for riders who must decide these things mid-race with the fatigue of five hours and a coating of mud or dust etc.