Wholesale use of disc brakes in pro peloton is inevitable, says Pozzato

The polemic over the use of disc brakes in professional cycling continues to rumble on after the CPA, the riders' union, this week called on the UCI to suspend their use for the second time. But Filippo Pozzato (Wilier-Triestina) believes it is inevitable that the entirety of the professional peloton will embrace the technology in time.

The UCI first allowed the use of disc brakes in the professional peloton at the start of the 2016 season, but the trial was suspended after Paris-Roubaix in April when Fran Ventoso suffered a deep wound to his leg following a crash. He blamed the sharp edge of a disc brake rotor for the gash.

The UCI re-introduced disc brakes on a trial basis from the start of the 2017 season, after manufacturers agreed to dull the edges of disc rotors. Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors) became the first rider to win a professional race on disc brakes at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina last month.

The CPA is opposed, however, to the use of disc brakes and traditional calliper brakes in the same race, over concerns that the discrepancy between the stopping distances of the two systems constitutes a safety risk. The CPA has called on the UCI to ban disc brakes once again pending pre-agreed, 'all-on-discs' trials later in the season.

"In the end, I think what the CPA has said is right, it's only right that it's either all or nothing, because otherwise it becomes a problem when it comes to changing wheels and so on," Pozzato told Cyclingnews at the Tour of Oman. "I think in the future, it's going to be all on disc brakes anyway, so there just needs to be a date set when everybody switches over the disc brakes, and that's it."

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Boonen is the only rider in the Tour of Oman peloton using disc brakes, but Pozzato does not believe the Belgian's early adoption of the system creates undue risk for his fellow riders. "For us, no, it's not a problem," he said. "It really doesn't change anything for me personally if Tom is using disc brakes or not."

With major brands now routinely selling disc brakes road bikes to the general public, Pozzato believes it is simply a matter of time before the technology is de rigueur in professional racing. He added that the biggest impediment to the wholesale adoption of disc brakes in the professional peloton is not so much safety as the current lack of homogeneity between different manufacturers' systems.

"There's a polemic blowing up right now about using disc brakes, but we all know that in the end, we're all going to end up using disc brakes because all of the manufacturers are already ready to roll it out," Pozzato said. "In the end, it's just a matter of establishing a date when everybody starts using them together, and then we're all in the same boat.

"The one thing that still needs to be done is that an agreement needs to be reached on a universal size for the disc rotor, so that it's easier to change wheels from neutral service. That's the only problem that needs to be resolved."

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.