Top riders won’t use disc brakes in the Classics, says Van Avermaet

Belgian believes risks outweigh benefits for now

Greg Van Avermaet is the latest rider to speak out against disc brakes, arguing that it is too risky to race with them in the Classics, and that they need to undergo significant adaptation before they become widely used.

Ever since the UCI announced the introduction of a testing period for disc brakes in professional road cycling in 2016, with a view to full incorporation by 2017, there has been split opinion and healthy debate on the matter. Fabian Cancellara has said that he won’t use them in the final year of his career, while Vincenzo Nibali and Alex Dowsett have voiced legitimate safety concerns to Cyclingnews.

Van Avermaet, speaking to Cyclingnews and other media during BMC's winter camp in Spain, has now weighed in with a Classics perspective, and is another rider who is far from sold on the idea.

"I don't want to use them, to be clear," he said. "I think it's a little bit too early. For now I don't think it's right at the highest level but there might be a time in several years when we're all using them."

Van Avermaet, who is one of the top riders in the cobbled Classics with podium finishes this year at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, refuses to take the risk of trying disc brakes out next year, and believes it will be the same for his competitors.

There are enough variables and unpredictable elements to one-day racing without using unfamiliar equipment, not to mention equipment that complicates wheel-changes, which are often make or brake in those situations.

"If you're going for a win in Flanders or Roubaix, it's a bit risky to race with disc brakes. I don't think the top riders will ride with them in the Classics," said Van Avermaet.

"I was the first guy to test electronic shifting at Roubaix and it didn't work when I was a helper, so I don't want to take the risk. It will take a few more years to see bigger riders using them, especially in the big races like Flanders or Roubaix."

Van Avermaet believes the brakes in their current incarnation will not take off in the pro peloton, but he does see a point where they can be honed to a level where they do become suitable.

"For me at this point I don't want to ride it," he said. "There's a lot of evolution going on, and if the disc brake comes it will not be as we know it.

"I think its important we make it lighter, easier to change wheels, and also smaller. I think then it will be a good thing but we’ll have to see if it's working or not."

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