Cyclingnews have relayed claims in Het Nieuwsblad that Europcar’s Damien Gaudin won the Paris-Nice prologue thanks to an illegal helmet.

He rode with an aero helmet with the large front vent taped over to help improve aerodynamics.

Is this legal? Well it’s not clear. The rule is above says you can’t alter, add or remove things… but qualifies this in respect of design or form.

Was the design or form of the helmet changed by the tape? Perhaps but it’s hard to be sure what these rules means as the wording is ambiguous. Gaudin was cleared to ride by the commissaires.

Also if OPQS want to complain then their use of black rainjackets is against the rules. Yes, Rule 1.3.030 says “rain capes must be transparent or made to look like the jersey” and this isn’t the case for the Belgian team and a few others.

It all highlights problem of selectively applied rules and ambiguous wording. Once one team gets away with one thing, another team will try something else and before you know it, the rulebook is a pick-and-chose list to be gamed by participants.