Radio ban in place for stage ten at the Tour de France

Lance Armstrong (Astana) getting his radio situated on the side of the road.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) getting his radio situated on the side of the road. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Despite objections from a number of teams, the Tour de France's stage ten from Limoges to Issoudun will take place with riders unable to communicate via radio with their team vehicles.

Fourteen teams had signed a petition opposing the radio ban and meetings were held between teams on Monday's rest day in an attempt to reach a compromise with the UCI.

Skil-Shimano Team Manager, Ewan Spekenbrink, told Cyclingnews on Tuesday that despite the teams approaching the UCI with a proposed adaptation to the rule, no agreement had been reached and the experimental ban would still apply on Tuesday.

"Yesterday, there was a proposal from the teams that two riders from each team would race with earphones. That was later rejected [by the UCI]," he said.

A conciliatory Spekenbrink stressed that the debate over race radios should not overshadow the events of the race itself. "We should not blow up this issue to much," he said. "It's a big event, all stakeholders should involved should promote cycling in the Tour de France."

The radio ban has been met with divided opinions in the peloton. Thomas Voeckler (BBox Bouygues Telecom) believes that the use of radios has reduced the independence of riders within the bunch.

"With the earpiece, the briefing in the morning doesn't have a real purpose anymore because you always adapt to race situation afterwards anyway," said Voeckler to Cyclingnews. "Riders hardly look at the race course details anymore because you will get information by earpiece anyway. The designation 'race captain', which used to be a really important role, doesn't need to exist anymore... The earpiece just takes so many things from a bike race. It changes its nature."

Team directors such as Saxo Bank's Bjarne Riis had opposed the ban, citing safety concerns. "If thirty riders go down in the finale of a stage, there can be a big panic, a lot of sports directors want to get to the front because they don't know if their rider has crashed or not - then the riders would be inside the car caravan, and risk collision with the team cars. We would have a huge problem."

The ban only applies to communication between riders and their teams. Riders will still be allowed to carry radios and receive information from organisation's race radio channel.

Tour de France technical director, Jean-François Pescheux, warned that teams caught disobeying the rules of the ban on stage ten could be fined up to 7,000 Euro.

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