Radio ban: Riders association seeks constructive dialogue with UCI

Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek) wearing his illegal radio at the start of the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca

Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek) wearing his illegal radio at the start of the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The International Association of Professional Riders (CPA) issued a press release today which seems to indicate that a compromise with the International Cycling Union (UCI) over the race radio ban could be in the works.

The CPA's president Gianni Bugno met with UCI president Pat McQuaid on Tuesday, and while McQuaid reiterated that the UCI was not willing to step back from its ban on the race radio in all but the WorldTour events, he did indicate, according to the CPA, that another solution to the safety concerns the radio ban raises could be on the table.

The UCI began progressively banning radio communications between team cars and riders after getting complaints from the French television producers that the racing was losing its excitement since the advent of radios.

This year is the first season in which top-level UCI events were run under the ban, which previously only affected lower-ranked races. While radios are still in use in WorldTour events, any lower-ranked race such as this week's Giro del Trentino fall under the ban.

Earlier this year teams staged protests at the Challenge Mallorca and Tour de San Luis and threatened to boycott the Tour of Beijing over the UCI's insistence on implementing the rule without adequately consulting with teams and riders. Teams objected to the rule due to safety issues - saying that riders need to be warned of dangerous obstacles ahead, and teams need to know when riders have a crash or mechanical incident.

The issue has since devolved into a battle over how the sport itself is governed.

The CPA said the UCI is ready to address the rider safety issue by "studying new solutions to meet the demands of the movement".

One possible answer would be a radio channel which would relay information regarding dangers of the race route directly to the riders. Communication from the team car to the riders regarding race tactics would presumably remain banned.

McQuaid reportedly said it was "necessary to wait until the end of the season to decide the appropriateness of the new earphones rules".

Bugno "reaffirmed his desire to have a constructive dialogue with the UCI, provided that they also listen to the needs of the riders and work on the common objective of doing good for cycling".

The CPA said it would now meet with the riders and teams to discuss the UCI's position.

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