US cyclo-cross champion and world championship silver medalist Katie Compton suffered a deep gash to the knee in a crash during the final round of the DVV Trofee, the Krawatencross in Lille on Saturday. Her partner Mark Legg posted a photo on Twitter, blaming the cut on a disc brake rotor.
Disc brakes have become de rigueur in cyclo-cross, with the fine control on steep, muddy descents outweighing the possible safety implications. But the system is still under review by the UCI for road racing, where the CPA riders association has been fighting the test introduction because of dangers of a mix of rim and disc braking systems in the peloton.
The question over whether disc brakes can cut riders 'like giant knives' has been hotly debated after Fran Ventoso suffered a deep gash similar to Compton's at Paris-Roubaix in 2016.
The UCI suspended the disc brake road trial after Ventoso's injury, but later reinstated the test. It has allowed disc brakes in cyclo-cross races since 2010, and since then reports of serious injury have been rare. Maud Kaptheijns won the Superprestige Ruddervoorde despite being sliced by a disc rotor the previous day.
While the benefits of using discs in 'cross are clear, the advantages on the road are less definite, while the disadvantages of having slower wheel changes are obvious. Dubai Tour winner Elia Viviani had a frustratingly slow wheel change because of his disc brakes on stage 2, but still went on to win the sprint and eventually the overall race.
The UCI is allowing disc brakes on a trial basis in the road peloton in 2018 for the fourth year.
What happens when two riders make poor decisions and can’t be patient on the first lap and squeeze Katie into a crash? Disc rotor cut to the bone. Not a happy way to end a great season >:( pic.twitter.com/7ORlxqWXh0— Mark Legg (@MrKatieCompton) February 10, 2018