Disc brakes expected to proliferate at Tour de France after UCI approval

UCI fully authorise braking technology from July 1

Following the UCI decision to formally authorise disc brakes in road racing from July 1, the braking technology is expected to proliferate in the professional peloton, with several leading teams expected to use disc brakes at the Tour de France.

Some brands and teams have been cautious about investing in and using disc brakes while the technology was allowed on a trial basis, with riders concerned about weight and the speed of wheel changes, especially in the Classics. However, several leading brands have produced disc brake bikes that are close to the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg, and wheel change times should decrease as mechanics become more experienced.

Trek-Segafredo are expected to race entirely on disc brakes during the Tour de France, with riders from Quick-Step Floors and Bora-Hansgrohe – including world champion Peter Sagan, likely to use a new Specialized aero bike fitted with disc brakes, after testing the bike at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse.

The EF Education First-Drapac team have been testing a new Cannondale disc brake aero bike in recent months, while some riders at BMC, including Greg van Avermaet, have often used the Teammachine SLR01 disc brake bike. Wilier Triestina have also produced a time trial bike equipped with disc brake, which will be used by the Direct Energie team.  

Marcel Kittel made history in 2017 as the first rider to win a stage at the Tour de France on disc brakes.

The UCI confirmed in a press release last week that disc brakes will be authorised for use in road (and BMX) racing as of July 1st. The Tour de France starts on July 7.

The use was approved by the UCI Management Committee after three years of fits and starts that saw them approved on a trial basis and then temporarily banned after a nasty crash at the 2016 Paris-Roubaix and then approved once again, with the trial resumed in January 2017 with a requirement that disc rotors have chamfered edges.

The UCI press release, which also covers the UCI's Agenda 2022 — a four-year strategic road map for the organisation, with commitments to gender equality within the sport and the banning of glucocorticoids and Tramadol, reads: "Following nearly three years of tests, and in agreement with various stakeholders — teams, riders, mechanics, fans, commissaires, and the bicycle industry via the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFGSGI) — the decision has been taken to authorise disc brakes for road and BMX Racing, as of 1st July this year."

"Point 1.3.025 of the UCI Regulations will be amended to this effect, to allow the use of disc brakes during training and competitions for road and BMX Racing, as is already the case for cyclo-cross, mountain bike, trials and mass participation events."

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