The Cyclistes Professionnels Associes (CPA) riders association has criticised the UCI for failing to take into account doubts and concerns raised by riders about the risk of disc brakes in the professional peloton.
In a long summary of events that led to the UCI approving a final test period during 2016 - when all riders were given the OK to use disc brakes, the CPA claims their concerns were often ignored. In a statement issued to the media, the CPA suggests that “the UCI clearly wanted to continue the planned tests without taking into account the CPA remarks and despite the numerous red flags.”
Last week the UCI announced it had suspended disc brake testing after Francisco Ventoso suffered serious injury during Paris-Roubaix and then claimed in a personal letter that disc brakes can cause serious cuts. Ventoso wrote at the end of a long Facebook page: “Disks produce cuts. This time it was me; tomorrow, it can be more serious and happen to others.”
The tragic death of Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider Antoine Demoitié during Gent-Wevelgem, when he crashed and was then hit by a race motorbike, further heightened riders’ concerns about safety in the peloton.
The CPA revealed that the riders first raised concerns at Paris-Nice last year before the initial disc brakes trials began last summer. The CPA said that “many riders, not all of them, expressed their fears related to the use of disc brakes (such as burns and injuries from falls).”
The CPA claims it continued to raise question and asked to be involved in any decision concerning disc brakes. It also sent a letter to the Association of race organisers (AIOCC) highlighting the responsibility of the organizers in case of accidents because of the use of disc brakes in their races. The CPA listed the problems associated with the testing of the disc brakes, even suggesting that insurance companies could refuse to cover all accidents.
In its long statement, the CPA says the UCI responded “diplomatically, taking note of the letters and accepts that a member of the CPA could be part of the Equipment Commission as an observer.”
The CPA often informed the media of its opposition to the use of disc brakes and confirmed it would conduct an anonymous survey among the riders and deliver the results to the UCI, so their views taken into account without the riders being influenced by their teams and sponsors. This was planned for after the Classics, when initial tests of disc brakes had been made.
Despite its criticism of the UCI, the CPA claims it is not against technological progress but wants to give attention to the safety of the riders and their right to express their views on the issue. They concluded saying that it wants to work with all the stakeholders in cycling for development of every area of the sport but on one condition: rider safety.