UCI and teams set for showdown over radios at Het Nieuwsblad
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

UCI and teams set for showdown over radios at Het Nieuwsblad

by Ben Atkins at 2:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
Many will take the start with earpieces in defiance of ban

uciThe war between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the top teams over the abolition of radio communications looks set for another battle this weekend. Several teams are planning to defy the ban and take the start of Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with radios, according to Dutch TV station NOS.

Since January 1st, the use of two-way radios between riders and their team cars has been prohibited in all but WorldTour races. The ban had been in place in under-23 races for some time, and was extended to smaller one-day and stage races in 2010.

Rabobank is one of those teams that will defy the new rule, and are protesting against what they say is the UCI’s refusal to listen to their points of view on the subject.

“We will start with earpieces,” Lars Boom said on NOS Sport. “It’s important that we are heard and decisions aren’t just taken behind a large boardroom table, which we just have to say ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ and obey.”

The UCI’s position on the matter is the same as that taken on February 6th, when riders wore radios in the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca, the first race in the Mallorca Challenge. On that occasion the UCI commissaires simply withdrew, the race was removed from the calendar, and the result was not recognised by the governing body.

The same would happen on Saturday, should riders start with radios.

“If that happens then there is no race,” UCI president Pat McQuaid told NOS Sport. “Then we will withdraw our backing and the riders will not be insured.”

McQuaid’s last point is a pertinent one. One of the big arguments that those against the radio ban use is that it helps ensure the riders’ safety in the races; should a serious accident occur in the race after the UCI has withdrawn its support those involved would be entirely unprotected.


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