Mallorca Challenge delayed, protest for two-way radio use
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mallorca Challenge delayed, protest for two-way radio use

by Samuel Morrison at 8:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Mallorca Challenge
AIGCP leads protest against the UCI's radio ban

A protest over two-way radios delayed the start of Challenge Mallorca stage race in Spain today. Marca reported that the race started 20 minutes late, with riders and teams disobeying the UCI's ban of radios.

The International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) organised the protest.

"We feel that our collaborative action was our last resort," read an AIGCP press release.

It said its intention was to be "strong and unified" and not "disruptive or negative." It refuses to accept rules "without appropriate representation."

Challenge Mallorca race director, Manuel Hernández met with the team directors today before the race. RadioShack sports director, Alain Gallopin led the teams' protest, according to Marca.

They decided to race with two-way radios and the UCI officials took the day off in protest.

"To be clear, radio ban protests are not only about the radio ban," said AIGCP president, Jonathan Vaughters in a Twitter message. "Teams and riders must have greater participation in governance of cycling."

The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) held a poll on radio use and released the results last month. It polled riders from seven European countries – Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and Portugal – and found the majority in favour of using race radios: 207 to 40.

"I'm happy," said CPA president, Gianni Bugno. "The riders are expressing their views on matters affecting their work and safety. I hope that their voice is heard."

The UCI already bans race radios at the junior and Under 23 level. At last year's World Championships, it also banned the elite men from using them.

The UCI remains defiant. At a meeting at the Cyclo-Cross World Championships last week, it confirmed "the progressive prohibition of the use of two-way radio in the interests of maintaining the quality of the sporting spectacle."

Teams and riders may continue to fight the UCI. A protest is rumoured for the first road stage tomorrow at the Tour of Qatar.


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