Race radios to be permitted in top level events in 2012 as assessment continues
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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Race radios to be permitted in top level events in 2012 as assessment continues

by Shane Stokes at 2:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
UCI and AIGCP welcome progress on previous tensions

race radioAlthough no final decision has been reached on the long-term use of race radios in cycling, the devices are set to be permitted in top level races next year, specifically WorldTour and .HC events. At the same time, a UCI-appointed external group will deliberate their utilisation in the sport and issue its conclusion at the end of the study.

The UCI and the teams’ association AIGCP recently reached an agreement on this issue, with the most immediate effect being the mending of relations between them. An agreement has been reached that all WorldTour teams will compete in the inaugural Tour of Beijing, which runs from October 5th to 9th. VeloNation understands that teams will receive payment to travel to China, as is permitted under UCI rules.

The agreement was recently brokered between the UCI and AIGCP president Jonathan Vaughters, and brings to an end a difficult period which began over the radio issue. Teams were protesting at the removal of radios, with many emphasising that they believed they were an important aid to rider safety. The UCI’s contention is that the use of radios made races more programmed and predicable, with the directeurs sportifs deciding tactics rather than the riders themselves. Because of this, it wanted the compete removal of such devices from the bunch.

Both sides defended their position and as the tensions reached a high point, teams said they would not travel to the new Tour of Beijing. VeloNation understands that the teams were told they would lose their ProTeam licences if they did not agree to take part. There have also been reports that the sponsors of teams were contacted in order to try to get them to comply.

Fortunately, talks diffused the situation and in recent days it was confirmed that the teams would indeed attend the race.

Both the UCI and the AIGCP have now commented on some aspects of the discussions. “Over the weekend all the teams did confirm their participation in the Tour of Beijing, which is very good,” said UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani to VeloNation. “That is in compliance with the rules and while we were expecting to get this confirmation, we are happy to do so.”

As regards the race radio issue, Carpani declined to comment on the specifics, particularly their approved use in 2012. He said that the UCI would speak in more detail on the subject at a future date. However he did indicate that discussions were ongoing as regards the long term use of the devices.

“It is true that the international federation is discussing a lot of question with the stake holders, especially in this case the teams,” he told VeloNation. “The radios are part of this. It’s wrong that some people tried merge the two things, race radios and Beijing, as they are completely separate. One the one hand, there is the race and the will of the teams to go to China and to participate in the event, and other the other there is a need to keep the discussions going between the UCI and the teams on this issue.”

In contrast, Vaughters said that he didn’t wish to comment at this point in time on the Tour of Beijing. VeloNation understands that an official statement from the AIGCP will be released in the next few days.

However he welcomed the agreement relating to communication in the bunch. “The AIGCP is content with the outcome of the negotiation regarding race radios,” he said. “Radios will be used in 2012.

“We are encouraged by the unity and resolve shown by all the teams in order to make this a successful move forward. Without their willingness to put aside differences, and work together, such progress in professional cycling would not be possible.”

The use of radios beyond 2012 is yet to be determined. VeloNation understands that the AIGCP wants to ensure that the Commission assessing their use is a fully independent one.

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