Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to go ahead after radio protest is called off

AIGCP back down after UCI threatens to remove race officials

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad looks certain to go ahead without any form of official protest from the AIGCP, teams and riders, after the AIGCP decided to back down on racing with race radios.

There had been a mounting stand-off between the teams and the UCI in recent days after speculation first emerged that there could be repeats of the scenes from the Challenge Mallorca where the start was delayed, the UCI commissaries quit the race and the riders used race radios. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) won the race but the results were later made void.

The decision not to protest seems to have arisen after the UCI threatened to remove race commissaries from the event. According to the UCI this would have voided insurance policies and therefore the race could have been cancelled.

The UCI began the roll out of the race radio ban last year in 1.2 and 2.2 level races (including all U23 races and women's stage races), and has been extended to cover all Continental races ranked 1.HC/2.HC and below in 2011. The ban will include the World Calendar races in 2012.

In a statement issued to the media, the AIGCP said: “Upon receiving information that the UCI threatened to remove race commissaries from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, if riders were to wear radios, the race organizer could not guarantee the race could go forward, as insurance policies required commissaries to be present.”

“The AIGCP have decided, by a majority, that to endanger a long standing race would not be in the best interest of the sport, its fans, and its sponsors.”

“We, once again, extend an invitation to the UCI to find a compromise on this issue. We also are hopeful that the UCI will no longer threaten race organizers with actions that imperil their events.”

The AIGCP will next gather on March 4, in Paris, where it is hoped that a level of mediation between them and the UCI can begin. Cyclingnews understands that UCI could be open to such a resolution of the dispute after confirming to one team manager that the race radio situation could be reviewed after a set time. However, no time period before a review was specified.

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