After opposing the introduction of disc brakes into the road peloton, the professional cycling's rider union (CPA) may be coming around to a compromise on the issue. The CPA posted images of disc brake covers it says the UCI's Equipment Commission is investigating.
The CPA opposed disc brakes on safety grounds, both because of potential cutting power and the creation of a peloton with mixed stopping power. Disc brakes have become a major point of contention between the various stakeholders, with some riders expressing concern about the danger they pose in the peloton. Injuries that have been attributed to disc rotors by some have heightened the tension.
The CPA conducted a survey on the topic in November of 2016 that showed that 42 per cent of riders would only welcome disc brakes if certain conditions were met, among them, the use of protective covers.
The union shared photos on Google+ on Wednesday, saying in the caption, "Yesterday the Working Group of the #Equipment Commission has taken a step forward to meet the demands of the CPA and the riders on the disc brakes: the start of an investigation on the security guard. We are on track, thanks for listening!"
The UCI already required the blunting of edges of disc brake rotors on road bikes, but Owain Doull (Sky), who crashed with Marcel Kittel in the Abu Dhabi Tour, blamed a gash to his shoe on Kittel's disc brake rotor, saying "Nothing else could cut like that, it's like a knife, it cut straight through it. You can see that thin line, it's exactly in line, cut there and cut there on my shoe and both straight through in an arrow-straight line."
The prospective protective coverings pictured by the CPA would encase most of the surface of the rotor, removing most of the risk of contact between skin and sharp metal in the event of a crash.
One of several advisory bodies within the larger UCI, the Equipment Commission is tasked with providing recommendations, and comprises representatives from a number of stakeholders, including riders, teams and the cycling industry.
This week has proved to be productive for rider unions in more ways than one. In addition to potentially making progress on disc brake covers, riders saw new safety measures – initially suggested by the CPA – enacted by the UCI in the operational criteria for WorldTour races. Organisers will now be required to conduct risk assessments of final kilometres and also to use footless finish line barriers.