The Professional Cyclists Association (CPA) on Monday threatened legal action against the UCI if the sport's governing body doesn't reconsider the ongoing disc brake test period that started at the beginning of this season.
This is the second test period for the new technology after the first one last year ended abruptly in April when Fran Ventoso blamed a disc for a deep gash he suffered to his leg in a crash. The CPA claims the trial periods have been opposed by the vast majority of riders in the pro peloton, and restarting the test period this year led to a war of words between the UCI and riders' union.
That dispute rose to a full boil recently when Owain Doull claimed a disc rotor on Marcel Kittel's bike cut his shoe and foot in a crash at the Abu Dhabi Tour.
Monday's letter from the CPA to the UCI claims the governing body met only one of three demands riders asked for before the trial restarted. Although the UCI required that the edges of disc rotors are now rounded as riders requested, the CPA also called for protective casings for the discs to further reduce the risk of cuts or burns.
The third consideration concerned homogeneity between braking systems in the peloton, with many riders voicing fears over a possible discrepancy in braking times between those on discs and those on traditional caliper brakes.
"The fact that the UCI did not take into account these suggestions, according to the legal department of the CPA, make the UCI inevitably responsible, for the permission they gave to use the disc brakes without applying the necessary preventive measures, for any damage or accident that should happen to the riders," the CPA says in its letter to the UCI.
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"The CPA calls on the International Cycling Union to review their position on this point and to subordinate the possibility of using the disc brakes during the races to the application of a safety cover or to measures that can exclude an accidental contact of the discs to the body of the riders," the letter continued. "Failing that the CPA will proceed with all the necessary legal actions to safeguard the health and safety of its members, to which, as workers, must be guaranteed the adoption of all the appropriate preventive measures required by the legislation on the safety at work (eg. EEC directive 89/391)."
CPA President Gianni Bugno said the threat of legal action came only after other avenues were exhausted.
"With the Equipment Commission we tried in every way the path of dialogue through the repeated letters and meetings we had," Bugno said. "Now we feel compelled to act in a stronger way to be heard. As we have always said we are not against the disc brakes but against the non-implementation of the security measures that the majority of the riders asked before making the tests on the disc brakes in the races."