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Directeurs opposed to radio-free racing

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
June 30, 2009, 3:15 BST,
Updated:
June 30, 2009, 11:15 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, June 30, 2009
Alberto Contador speaks to Johan Bruyneel on the radio during last year's Giro d'Italia - ADISPRO International says this is an important part of modern racing.

Alberto Contador speaks to Johan Bruyneel on the radio during last year's Giro d'Italia - ADISPRO International says this is an important part of modern racing.

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Association calls ban an "inappropriate measure"

The association of directeurs sportif has declared its opposition to the banning race radios due to safety concerns surrounding riders.

In a statement released by ADISPRO International, the association said the ban "impinges on their [directeurs'] professionalism and the safety of the cyclists" and has called the move "an outdated and inappropriate measure".

This follows the announcement by Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) that an option to ban earpieces exists for teams during two stages of this year's race. In response to calls that racing has become formulaic, stage 10 – from Limoges to Issoudun – and stage 13 – Vittel to Colmar – will be run with the option to not use race radios.

Following oppostition to the move from teams and riders, the association has hit out at what it calls a lack of understanding concerning the role directeurs play in a team and the measures undertaken to ensure rider safety.

It's "a prerogative that is too often debased by those who, due to their lack of understanding, continue to treat directeur sportifs as if they were just 'drivers of the team cars'," continued the statement.

"The prospect of an increasingly professional approach to the job of directeur sportif is being contradicted by initiatives like the 'experiment' which will take place during the next Tour de France."

Citing rider safety in the modern racing environment, the statement explained, "ADISPRO International believes that if this measure is put into practice it could firstly jeopardise the safety of the cyclists and secondly it could compromise the directeurs' ability to effectively do their jobs in a dignified manner.

"The roads are no longer the same as in years gone by; they often present a variety of dangers and the races are now even more crowded with cars and motorcycles. By banning the use of radio links, the cyclists would lose the only tool which with they can be promptly warned of impending dangers. The directeurs sportif would be forced to perform frequent (and maybe even risky) manoeuvres to reach the cyclists in the bunch in order to communicate with them.

"When technical-strategic contact between cyclist and directeur sportif is at its height, in the final decisive phases of the race, the directeur sportif would practically be prevented from fulfilling his or her professional role. Situations like this do not arise in other sports.

"In light of these considerations, ADISPRO International has no hesitation in calling the ban on the use of radio links an outdated and inappropriate measure."
 

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