The debate surrounding the use of race radios has been swirling about this season, and now the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) has released the results of an opinion survey which reveals that the majority of riders are in favour of the devices. Criticism of the radios has come from race organizers, the media, and fans who feel that the riders have become nothing more than puppets as the directors pull the strings from the team car.
The CPA and its president Cédric Vasseur sought out the opinion of the riders themselves by polling each professional individually. The UCI was scheduled to hold a discussion on the matter with its Road Commission last Friday to develop new rules surrounding the use of radios. The UCI banned them in espoir races this year, and the Tour de France organizer Christian Prudhomme has considered prohibiting their use as well.
"The result of this opinion poll shows that 70% of the riders are in favour of the use of the ear pieces during the competitions," the CPA statement read. "The main reasons they bring up are the following: safety on the course, - not only for the riders to be informed in time of the dangers they will meet on the road, but also to avoid the continuous motion of vehicles at the back and in the middle of the bunch, and the possibility for the riders to be in permanent communication with their team-mates and their team manager."
The CPA called the use of radios "progress to improve their work conditions", and pointed out that the use of radios is not compulsory."The 30% of the riders which are against the use of the ear pieces think that the fact of forbidding its use would make it easier for the riders who want to take the initiative of attacking by themselves to do it freely, and that as a consequence the races could unfold in a completely different way and be less predictable."