The Lampre-Merida team have told Cyclingnews that their riders will use disc brake-equipped bikes for the cobbled Classics such as the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix after Merida obtained UCI approval for disc brake bike.
Cyclingnews understands that other teams are also considering switching to disc brakes for the cobbled Classics when the braking technology could make a difference. However the Etixx-QuickStep team has confirmed to Cyclingnews that it will not use disc-brake-equipped bikes this spring despite bike sponsor Specialized having recently secured UCI approval for a Tarmac Disc model of bike.
Merida is set to unveil a new bike during the Cobbled Classics at a special presentation in Northern Europe. It quietly secured approval from the UCI for a bike model called the Scultura Disc at the end of 2015 but has yet to present the bike to the media and public.
Specialized obtained UCI approval for the Tarmac Disc frame and fork for road racing use on January 19, while Canyon – a sponsor of Katusha and Movistar, registered a disc bike called the Ultimate CF SLX Disc on February 26. Giant also registered the TCR Adv Pro disc bike on January 19, perhaps indicating the Giant-Alpecin team could soon decide to use disc-brake-equipped bikes in races.
While several riders and team have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of disc brakes and concerns different raking distances due to a mixed peloton, Lampre-Merida team manager Brent Copeland told Cyclingnews that his riders are in favour of disc brakes.
"The riders like them. Four riders are using them at home in training and their feedback has been very positive," he told Cyclingnews.
"They're convinced the braking is better. Of course a change in technology brings a series of problems such as wheel changes in races and the new technology is a change for the mechanics too but there's nothing we can do about that.
"We're happy to work with Merida to ensure everything works perfectly. We think disc brakes are the future and want to use them in the Classics where they can make a real difference."