Riders protest against radio ban at the Challenge Mallorca

Is this Leopard Trek rider checking his radio or looking for his scarf?

Is this Leopard Trek rider checking his radio or looking for his scarf? (Image credit: Sirotti)

The International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) has organised a protest against the UCI’s ruling on banning radios and defied UCI rules and tried use the devices at the first race of the Challenge Mallorca series on Sunday.

Numerous riders turned up for the first race in Mallorca wearing radios, sparking a stand-off between race judges, the riders and their teams. The start of the race was disrupted.

Radios were banned last season in lower-category UCI events at a 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 will allow radios to be used in WorldTour races in 2011 but the ban is already in force this year for races ranked 1.HC/2.HC and below. This has angered the AIGCP and many teams and riders.

Last week the CPA wrote an open letter to the head of the UCI, Pat McQuaid, but this new step is the first time the entire peloton has acted in a collective manner.

A statement from the AIGCP board of directors read:

“Today the AIGCP organized various protests regarding the ban of radio communication. While we regret that action was required, we feel that our collaborative action was our last resort.”

“The radio ban is one rule that we disagree with, it is only part of the greater issue. The AIGCP takes great issue with the fact that the legislation governing cycling is decided upon without sufficient input from the teams, and with zero vote when new rules come to a final decision in the UCI management committee.”

“It is not the desire of the teams to be disruptive or negative. However, we do need to be strong and unified until we garner the correct representation in the governance of our sport.”

Cyclingnews understands that similar protests may occur at the Tour of Qatar, which also starts on Sunday.

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