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IRONMAN cracks down on aero shortcuts with updated triathlon rules for 2024

IRONMAN have officially announced their competition rules for the 2024 season, which include changes on the way athletes are reducing wind resistance.

Staff Reporter
Last updated -
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Ahead of the start of the new pro series, which kicks off next month in Oceanside, IRONMAN have made some considerable changes to their competition rules.

In particular, the organisation cracked down on some of the aerodynamic “shortcuts” that were widely implemented last season, including the trend of putting a bottle down the front of your trisuit.

Additionally, creating a fairing using electrical tape or other devices/materials, which is seen as a DIY way to reduce resistance at the front of the bike, is now banned.

Hidden bottles now a no-go

Whilst the advantage of shoving a bottle or water bladder down the front of your suit have been furiously debated, it seemed last season that a number of athletes were adopting it as a sure fire ‘hack’ to a faster bike split.

Sam Laidlow at the IRONMAN World Championships 2023 in Nice.
Sam Laidlow with bottles down his suit at the IRONMAN World Championship in Nice [Photo Credit – Bartłomiej Zborowski, Active Images for IRONMAN]

However, as set out under Article V, Section 5.01(m) of the new competition rules, “additional equipment that has the effect of reducing wind resistance is prohibited during the bike segment of the race”.

This equipment, says IRONMAN, “includes, but is not limited to (i) any bottles/hydration or any other insert located in the front of an athlete’s race suit and (ii) any insert in an athlete’s calf sleeves”.

The punishment, for anyone who flounces these rules, is a DSQ, with the new regulations removing the ambiguity that existed over the issue last year, where these bottles/bladders were allowed for extra hydration.

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Goodbye fairings?

Fairings, which have taken many different forms but feature to increase streamlining and reduce drag, will not be allowed during the 2024 season.

According to IRONMAN, “protective screens, fuselages, fairings, or any other devices or materials (including duct tape) added or blended into the structure with the intent to reduce (or having the effect of reducing) resistance to air penetration are prohibited”.

Additionally, “aerodynamic assemblies and protuberances on the head tube or elsewhere are prohibited”, with any athlete found in violation of this rule disqualified.

Challenge Geraardsbergen 2023 - Photo Credit José Luis Hourcade

That means you won’t be seeing the type of fairing fashioned by Joe Skipper last year on the race course in 2024, where the Brit and many others used the gap in the regulations to their advantage, as pictured above.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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