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Ivan Basso wears his radio in protest before the start of stage one of the Tour de San Luis
ProTour Council gets a new name
Following a meeting of its Management Committee at the site of the Cyclo-cross World Championships in St. Wendel, Germany, the UCI announced today that it will continue with its plan to progressively phase out the use of radio communications between riders and team cars.
The decision comes despite objections from the majority of riders and team directors, but the UCI said it will go through with the plan "in the interests of maintaining the quality of the sporting spectacle". It qualified that the Management Committee will "constantly monitor the effects of this measure".
Radios were banned last season in lower-category UCI events at the 1.2 and 2.2 level (one-day and stage race, respectively), and many national federations extended the prohibition to national-level races.
The UCI upped the ban this year to include races ranked 1.HC/2.HC and below, drawing the ire of riders taking part in the 2.1-ranked Tour de San Luis, some of whom protested prior to the start of the race.
Jonathan Vaughters, president of the teams organization AIGCP, has argued strongly against instituting a global ban on race radios, saying that it negatively impacts rider safety.
The president of the rider's association (CPA) Gianni Bugno recently wrote to the UCI president Pat McQuaid calling for a dialogue between the teams, riders and race promoter's associations to discuss the issue after seeing what he believed were the dangers posed by the lack of radios at the Tour de San Luis.
However, Belgian Philippe Gilbert came out in support of the radio ban, saying that he doesn't believe radios increase safety, while Cofidis manager Eric Boyer proposed a compromise where a limited number of riders on a team could have radios.
In the same announcement, the UCI stated it has changed the name of the UCI ProTour Council, which, after the creation of the World Calendar will now be named the Professional Cycling Council.