British Cycling to allow disc brakes in races in 2018

Federations move ahead of UCI rules on brake technology

British Cycling has announced that it will allow the use of disc brakes at all levels of domestic road racing in 2018 to help riders who perhaps only own a disc-brake bike.

British Cycling has followed USA Cycling, Cycling Australia, and Cycling Canada, who have all agreed to allow disc brakes. UCI-sanctioned international events will still be subject to specific regulations, with the UCI allowing disc brakes as part of a fourth year of trials in 2018.

The major national federations do not seem to share the safety concerns raised by some professional riders and have moved beyond a test period to allow disc brakes.

The UCI has faced resistance to disc brakes in the WorldTour peloton, with riders expressing concerns about a peloton with mixed braking power, injury from disc rotors, and delays with wheel and bike changes. Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) claimed to have been cut by a rotor at the 2016 Paris-Roubaix, and Owain Doull (Team Sky) blamed a deep gash to his shoe on a disc rotor in an incident at the Abu Dhabi Tour this February.

Doubts about the cause of both accidents were raised in subsequent analysis and the UCI ruled that disc rotors have to have flattened edges, but many riders remain unconvinced of the need for disc brakes in professional races. Marcel Kittel was one of a handful of riders to use discs in 2017 and made history by becoming the first rider to win a stage at the Tour de France on a disc-brake bike. More teams are expected to switch to disc brakes in 2018 but final details and numbers have yet to be confirmed.

British Cycling is responsible for racing in Britain but also works to promote recreational cycling. Previous rules meant that cyclists could use disc brakes in mass-participation events but not in races.

“We believe we have made the decision with the best interests of domestic cycle sport in this country at heart,” Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s Director of Cycling, said in a statement after British Cycling’s board approved the rule change.

“We know that buying a bike is a significant financial investment for people to make and with the cycling industry producing more and more bikes with disc brakes we felt it was only right that we amended our regulations to ensure that people can take part in any form of cycling, whether recreational or competitive, with one bike.

“We hope that this decision will encourage more and more people to get involved in competitive cycling.”

John Herety, the highly experienced team manager of the JLT-Condor Continental, welcomed the arrival of disc brakes in Britain for 2018. Herety did not specify if his riders will exclusively use disc brakes in races in 2018.

“The number of people riding disc brake road bikes is increasing all the time. British Cycling’s decision to allow the use of disc brakes in domestic road and closed circuit races in 2018 will help to remove a barrier that is currently preventing some people from getting into competitive racing and this decision will hopefully have a really positive impact on the future growth and sustainability of the sport,” Herety said in British Cycling’s statement.

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