After a long time push by many pro triathletes to change the regulations in terms of drafting, the WTC seems to have listened to them. With the 2007 Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on the horizon, the distance between pros now has to be 10m and for age groupers 7m according to Blair LaHaye of WTC. Jimmy Riccitello, head of the officiating crew added that slipstreaming on the bike is also no longer allowed.
"I had the impression that Jimmy Riccitello really wanted to go for the 10m rule, the press was for it in large parts and thus there was enough internal drive and it would make sense to reconsider the matter for WTC. I am happy they decided this way." said Olaf Sabatschus international athlete speaker for long course triathletes, and added "There will be still one problem remaining, with whatever rule they will follow, which is the number of GOOD marshals out on the highway."
"The difference is 1.5m," said Riccitello, "because the zone has gone from 7m between bikes to 10m nose to nose. The practical difference between the new zone and the old is minimal. But it is there. The WTC is not motivated to deny the pros racing in Kona rules they feel is best for their race, and we've been racing with this rule since the Spring. This is just the first we've announced it."
The new rule also denies the athletes the right to ride up into another rider's slipstream, in order to slingshot past. "Athletes who know the system can work together and gain an advantage," said Riccitello. When asked if the practical result of this rule change is to add width to the draft zone he answered, "Yes it does, but we're not putting that into the rule because we want to allow our marshals the ability to exercise judgment." Side winds change the relevance of a rider's position as he's overtaking another rider, Riccitello explained, and he wants for his marshals the freedom to allow clean riding and penalize unfairly taken advantages.