UCI to reinstate disc brake trial in the professional road peloton in June

Disc brakes expected to be modified with rounder rotor edges

It’s been three weeks since the UCI announced it suspended the trial run of disc brakes in the professional road peloton after Movistar’s Francisco Ventoso stated in an open letter that he was wounded by one at Paris-Roubaix. However, according to a report in CyclingTips, the sport’s governing body has decided to reinstate the disc brake trial at the beginning of June.

A key modification to disc brakes includes rounded rotor edges to prevent extensive injuries.

In his report on CyclingTips, James Huang wrote that the publication had obtained notes based on a UCI Equipment Commission’s private conference call last week. The conference included members of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI). Those notes pointed to the restart of the disc brake trial and suggested modifications to the disc brakes for safer use in the road peloton.

Since the UCI, in agreement with WFSGI, announced the first summer trial period (August-September 2015) of testing disc brakes in the professional peloton, there have been multiple complaints from riders who disagree with the technological inclusion, citing safety concerns over their sharp edges, the use of mixed braking systems, and the challenge with wheel changes.

At that time the UCI stated that the goal was that "if the experience is satisfactory, disc brakes will be officially introduced to the UCI WorldTour in 2017. The aim is to eventually introduce disc brakes to all levels of road cycling."

The UCI then announced it would continue to test the use of disc brakes in 2016, in a second phase, with men and women professional riders allowed to use the braking technology in races from January 1.

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Lampre-Merida were the first WorldTour team to use all disc brakes at the Tour of Flanders, Roompot Oranje has had a mixed set up using disc brakes and rim brakes, and Direct Energie was one of two teams that used disc brakes at Paris-Roubaix.

However, following Ventoso’s explanation of his injury at Paris-Roubaix, where he confirmed that he was injured by a disc brake after being caught behind a crash, the UCI took almost immediate action to suspended the use of disc brakes on the road citing safety concerns, stating that "rider security has always been and will always remain its absolute priority".

Their decision to suspend disc brakes followed a request to do so made by the Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP) – which represents all professional cycling teams. The Cyclistes Professionnels Associes (CPA) riders association also criticised the UCI for failing to take into account doubts and concerns raised by riders about the risk of disc brakes in the professional peloton.

It is not yet clear how the restart of the disc brake trial in June will be received by riders and members of the two associations, in light of the potential modifications reported on CyclingTips; rounded rotors, slight changes to the design, the possibility of rotor covers, and continued work with “a forensic doctor to empirically determine the human risks of disc brakes."

CyclingTips also reported that the UCI Equipment Commission will schedule a follow-up meeting in September to discuss the outcome of the disc brake modifications used during the next trial period.

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