A body representing the bicycle industry has issued a statement rejecting claims that disc brakes are dangerous and should not, in their current form, be permitted for use in professional cycling.
The WFSGI – World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry – has waded into the debate following Owain Doull’s claim that Marcel Kittel’s disc brake sliced into his shoe during a crash at last week’s Abu Dhabi Tour. "My shoe was cut to pieces. That's definitely a disc brake that has done that," Doull told Cyclingnews after the incident.
Doull's account has been disputed by the WFSGI, which issued its statement in its capacity as a representative of bicycle and component manufacturers.
"The investigation into the accident of Owain Doull is still ongoing and the available material is being studied carefully," the statement read. "After the first material and image investigations, we can say that a disk brake accident can, most likely, be excluded."
The statement does not specify which materials were studied to reach this preliminary conclusion on the Doull incident.
The body also said that it had commissioned Swiss forensic analyst Ulrich Zollinger to study the injury sustained by Francisco Ventoso during last year’s Paris-Roubaix, and linked to his report in its statement. Zollinger stated that the Ventoso’s injury "could not be reasonably explained" and concluded that "every sharp part of a bicycle poses a certain risk of injury."
The WFSGI statement voiced support for the UCI's working group on disc brakes, which includes representatives from bike manufacturers, riders' association the CPA and teams' association the AIGCP.
Trial of disc brakes set to continue despite CPA threat of legal action
The CPA said on Monday that it has issued a legal warning to the UCI, calling for the trial use of disc brakes in the peloton to be suspended pending the application of further safety measures.
Cyclingnews understands that the UCI has received the letter but has no plans to suspend or change the rules for the current trial of disc brakes in the peloton.
The UCI has already pointed out that CPA was involved in the approval of the new disc brake trial last year but then changed its stance after a vote amongst its members. However, the CPA has hardened its stance after a survey amongst its members carried out over the winter showed that more than 600 riders are against disc brakes being used.
"With the Equipment Commission we tried in every way the path of dialogue through the repeated letters and meetings we had," said CPA president Gianni Bugno. "Now we feel compelled to act in a stronger way to be heard. As we have always said we are not against the disc brakes but against the non-implementation of the security measures that the majority of the riders asked before making the tests on the disc brakes in the races."
Marcel Kittel opted not to use his Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS bike equipped with disc brakes after the crash at the Abu Dhabi Tour as a sign of respect for his fellow riders and their concerns about safety. However, his Quick-Step Floors teammate, Tom Boonen, used a new disc bake bike for Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad before quitting the race due to crashes.
Several other teams and riders are expected to use disc brake bikes at Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico.
The UCI’s Equipment Commission and specially created disc brake working group is due to meet before the Spring Classics, but it seems unlikely that a compromise agreement between the CPA and the UCI will be found before then.
The CPA has requested that protective casings – to further reduce the danger of cuts and burns – be fitted to bikes and raised concerns about 'mixed peloton' of disc and caliper brakes. However, with research, design work and debate still ongoing, these issues are not expected to be resolved before the start of the Spring Classics.