By Jean-François Quénet in Plumelec
Last week, the association of the professional cyclists (CPA) released a survey conducted among their members: 70% of the riders declared themselves favorable to keeping the use of the ear pieces for communication between the staff and the riders, citing safety reasons. The 30% opposed to it, and suggested that bike riders would be able to take more initiatives and make more of their breakaways successful without them.
Many voices in cycling consider that ear pieces are largely responsible for making the races boring compared to what it was in the past. The organization of the Tour de France is also working on the option to hold some stages without radio communication between staff and riders as is the case in some car rallies.
Bouygues Telecom inaugurated this old and new kind of cycling at the GP Plumelec and they proved the radios to be unnecessary for tactical instructions since they came first, fourth and fifth with Thomas Voeckler, Jérôme Pineau and Mathieu Sprick. Many directeurs sportifs talk about it, but Philippe Mauduit of Bouygues Telecom did it.
"The briefing was excellent," Voeckler explained. "We started the race without any protected rider because we know that in French cup events, the tactic mostly depends on how many riders which team has in the breakaway. Riding without radios increased the solidarity between us. The team spirit was fantastic today. I managed to win because Sprick did an enormous work at the front for a very long time."
Riders should be prepared for cycling without instant instructions by the directeurs sportifs in case of new regulations being put in place at the Tour de France. The UCI might not be in a situation to prevent ASO from forbidding radios, should it be confirmed that the world's biggest race will no longer be sanctioned by the governing body of cycling.