DUSSELDORF • Tour de France chiefs said yesterday there was nothing untoward on the Team Sky jerseys after rival teams complained that they had been designed to illegally boost aerodynamics.
The British team put four riders in the top eight of Saturday's opening time trial, with Geraint Thomas taking the race leader's yellow jersey.
Little bubble pads were seen on the upper arms and forearms on the jerseys of several Team Sky riders, including that of defending champion Chris Froome.
"It is an actual part of the jersey, it was not added," race jury president Philippe Marien told Reuters.
International Cycling Union regulations state: "Garments must not be adapted in any way such that they diverge from their use purely as clothing. The addition of any non-essential element or device to clothing is prohibited."
Marien said: "We summoned the team's sports directors to check the jerseys. Nothing was added to them."
Reuters learnt that at least two rival teams had complained about the Team Sky jerseys ahead of yesterday's second stage 203.5km ride to Liege.
The performance director of one team, who declined to be named, said they had tested the same kind of jersey and it gave riders a gain of at least one second per km.
Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said: "There are other teams who have been using it."
Meanwhile, Spanish veteran rider Alejandro Valverde has undergone a successful operation to fix a broken kneecap he suffered in a crash that knocked him out of the Tour, his Movistar team said yesterday.
The 37-year-old was taken to a hospital in Dusseldorf on Saturday after he came down hard on a slippery bend in wet conditions during the opening stage 14km time trial.
He also suffered a blow to the ribs as well as cuts in the fall.
"Valverde was operated on with success at Dusseldorf's University Hospital for the injuries caused by yesterday's fall which forced him to abandon the 2017 Tour de France," Movistar said in a statement.
Valverde was expected to play a pivotal role in helping team-mate Colombian Nairo Quintana in his bid to defeat Froome during the Tour's mountain stages.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS