The International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) has written an open letter to the UCI management committee and UCI president Pat McQuaid calling on the sport’s governing body to abandon plans to forbid the use of two-way radio communication in races ranked .1 and .HC. The teams association has also suggested that its members will defy the ban.
The letter comes in the wake of a meeting of the AIGCP and UCI held in Geneva on January 7. It is understood that AIGCP members (representatives from ProTeams and Professional Continental teams) voted 18-2 against the radio ban.
While the statement reiterates old concerns that any such ban would lead to a reduction of safety in the race caravan and decrease team managers’ ability to warn their riders of upcoming dangers and conditions, the AIGCP also argue that the use of radios ultimately leads to worthier race winners.
“When intelligent riders have more information, they are able to make better tactical decisions,” the statement reads. “A team can execute more precisely when information is available and communication is good. Both the more intelligent rider and the more intelligent team are the benefactors of greater information flow.
“This makes the winner of the race a more worthy one, as opposed to a randomized winner who simply was lucky in benefiting from a lack of communication and information. Fans do not want winners who haphazardly fell into a victory due to lack of information.”
This argument was posited by AIGCP president Jonathan Vaughters in a blog for Cyclingnews last week and the wording of Monday’s AIGCP statement suggests that the teams are prepared to tackle the UCI firmly on the issue of radio communication.
“We must follow the mandate of the majority of the AIGCP members and request that two way radio communication remain allowed in all .1 and .HC races,” reads the statement. “We the teams are anxious to begin our racing seasons, however we feel that it will be unsafe and unfair to participate in races without the best communication technology available.”
The AIGCP outlined that its constituent members will not accept the ban of radio communication in “.1 or .HC events in 2011 nor World Tour events in 2012 and beyond” and warned that the teams plan to continue to use radio communication in spite of the UCI directive: “We feel it is in the best interest of the sport of professional cycling to continue two way radio use - and so we will continue to use them.”
The UCI began phasing out rider-team radio communications last season in lower-level races, and previously banned their use in under-23 and junior races.