UCI to phase out race radios
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

UCI to phase out race radios

by Ben Atkins at 7:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tech News
At a meeting of the UCI’s Management Committee in Lugano, Switzerland a number of matters were agreed, by far the most controversial of which is to gradually phase out the use of race radios for riders of all categories.

Critics of the use of radios, which allow team directors to communicate directly with their riders from following vehicles, claim that they remove a great deal of spontaneity from racing and prevent riders from using their own initiative. Riders, they claim, are reduced to little more than puppets, controlled by a TV-watching puppet-master in the car behind.

The UCI committee – including newly appointed members Jonathan Vaughters and Roberto Amadio, managers of the Garmin-Slipstream and Liquigas teams respectively – apparently now agrees with those critics, and feel that the ban is in line with the prevailing opinion in the sport. “The members were of the opinion that two-way radio distorts the nature of cycle sport,” said a UCI press statement. “They also took into account the desire expressed by the majority of those involved in cycling to prohibit the equipment.”

Already outlawed in under-23 and junior category racing, the Tour de France experimented with a radio free day on Stage 10 of the race this year between Limoges and Issoudun. While the stage passed without major incident and followed the usual flat-stage formula of a breakaway being reeled in towards the end, a perceived go-slow by the peloton and opposition from some teams meant that the proposed second radio free day was abandoned.

The timetable for the phasing in of the ban has not yet been decided, but will be drawn up in the near future.

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