Video: Vaughters says progress being made on race radio debate and Tour of Beijing negotiations
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Video: Vaughters says progress being made on race radio debate and Tour of Beijing negotiations

by Shane Stokes at 1:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Tour de France, Video
Wants independent commission to carry out a thorough study of contentious subject

Jonathan VaughtersDespite the tension that existed earlier this year over the race radio issue plus the proposed boycott of the Tour of Beijing, AIGCP president Jonathan Vaughters has said that progress is being made and that both issues could move forward in the near future.

The Garmin-Cervélo CEO spoke to VeloNation this week, talking one day after the UCI’s announcement of details of the Tour of Beijing. That announcement confirmed that the race would go ahead, and that the UCI would partner with Tour de France organisers ASO in running the event.

According to Vaughters, if negotiations continue to progress, teams are likely to agree to compete in the Chinese race.

“Things are much more positive [than before],” he said in a video interview at the team hotel. “The UCI has proven to want to partner with the teams and try to compromise a little bit and come to a good position regarding the race radios. We appreciate that compromise, for sure.

“We are not quite to a deal yet, so I can’t say definitively just yet that all the teams will be going to Beijing, but there is progress. There is a lot of progress there and I am very hopeful that we will get it out of the way soon.”

Vaughters explained that both sides have accepted that the other has its own perspective, and that it would probably be best if an independent commission is appointed to objectively study the issue. He said the details of that still need to be worked out, but that he hopes it will be done within the next month or so.

Both sides have debated the topic, sometimes in a heated way. The UCI’s position is that the radios prevent spontaneous racing, this more controlled approach leading to less dramatic action. The teams insist otherwise, saying that riders are able to think for themselves and that the issue of safety means that communication is necessary in the sport.

An independent assessment would look at both sides of the argument, while also performing its own analysis of the races. Vaughters believes that the study could take a couple of years and that things should continue as they are in the meantime. “You obviously need the radio ban not to exist for many events in order [for the commission] to see how exactly the radios are used.”

If satisfactory agreement is not reached, the implication is that the major squads simply won’t travel to China. However he believes that this would not be an ideal outcome.

“Teams want to do the Tour of Beijing,” he emphasised. “A lot of us have sponsorship interests that could come out of China…of course we want to participate in that race. However all the teams need to stick together on an issue that all of us feel very strongly about.”

He said that both sides needed to focus on the broader good of the sport rather than their individual position.

The Tour of Beijing is due to take place between October 5th and 9th. The partnership between the UCI and the Beijing City Government is initially due to run for four years, as is the former’s arrangement with ASO. It is expected to be given WorldTour status.


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