Pat McQuaid meets with AIGCP over radios issue
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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Pat McQuaid meets with AIGCP over radios issue

by Ben Atkins at 12:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Progressive ban on communications will continue but UCI promises to listen to safety concerns

uciInternational Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid met with a delegation from the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP), made up of Harold Knebel (Rabobank), Patrick Lefevere (Quick Step) and Bjarne Riis (Saxo Bank-SunGard), at the governing body’s headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland. The one item on the agenda was the dispute over the outlawing of in-race radio communications, which has threatened to spill over onto the road on several occasions in the last few weeks.

According to a UCI statement: “Mr McQuaid listened to the different arguments put forward by the team representatives and assured them of the UCI’s willingness to take on board their concerns, especially when it comes to riders’ security.

“On this specific point, Mr McQuaid accepted that UCI would communicate with organisers and commissaries immediately to ensure the safety aspects are given the highest priority.”

While promising to take on board rider’s safety and security though, the UCI is unmoving in its commitment to continue the progressive banning of radio communications between riders and their team cars. From this year, only in the top-level races of the WorldTour for men and the World Cup for women, is radio communication allowed, and this is set to continue to be the case.

The one morsel of hope offered to the AIGCP here though is that the UCI “accepted a request from the delegation that the situation will be evaluated on an ongoing basis.”

In answer to accusations that the UCI has been acting without consultation of the teams and riders, McQuaid reminded the AIGCP delegation that: “Two elected members of this association sit on the Professional Cycling Council (PCC), whose mission is to discuss all the problems facing the professional sector, including the above, as well as propose better strategies and procedures to help resolve them.”

While not part of the meeting itself the AIGCP President, Garmin-Cervélo team manager Jonathan Vaughters, told the media that he will be discussing the meeting with the three delegates to decide upon a way forward.

“I am meeting with the delegates tonight to discuss what resolutions were had with the UCI,” he wrote in a statement. “Since the meeting ended just an hour ago, the AIGCP won't have a press release until our full board of directors has agreed on one. This takes a bit of time, as we will make sure any public statement represents the majority of our members. We will continue to operate on a democratic basis.

He was also keen to put his view across regarding the issue of consultation, particularly on the issue of the role of the Professional Cycling Council.

“One thing I can comment on is the statement about elected PCC representatives,” he explained. “I am one of those ‘reps’.

“As the UCI states, the PCC’s job is to discuss legislation and rules for professional cycling. However, the rule concerning radios was never discussed nor voted on by the PCC. And, as the UCI makes clear, discussion is the only power the PCC has. It does not have voting power in regards to new rules, which is why the AIGCP commented earlier saying that teams and riders have no vote in the rules that govern professional cycling. At this time, we only have the ability to discuss, not vote."

After weeks of polemics and protests, dialogue has finally begun; the issue is set to run and run though, with a protest rumoured to be planned for next week’s Paris-Nice race.

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