Thu, Sep 30, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Radio ban at world championship out of tune, riders say

REUTERS, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara and Road World Championship holder Cadel Evans have queried cycling authorities for banning riders and their teams from using radio during the world championships that started in Australia yesterday.

Swiss rider Cancellara said the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) ban had raised safety concerns given riders had become used to getting team information about potential road hazards during races.

“Rules are rules and that is how it is, but I still think it is wrong,” local media yesterday quoted Cancellara as saying. “We are in 2010. We are not in 1996 or 1960 or whatever. The radios are here not to get riders information that they have to breathe, to pedal, to push the pedals.”

“For me, the most important thing is the safety reason. When there’s something happening, when something is coming on the road, you have to get information. Whether it is a crash [or something else],” Cancellara said.

Cancellara will bid for a record fourth time trial world title today before joining Evans and an elite field in the road world championship race on Sunday.

Evans said the ban for the world championships, which run from yesterday to Monday, would be a jolt for riders who had been using them on the professional tour all year.

“I am just abiding by the rules, I don’t make them,” he said. “But it is a bit strange for everyone. Normally such a dramatic rule change is eased into. Whereas, to race all year with radios and then ‘boom’, no radio, it’s a big change and [there is] a lot that we have got to adjust to.”

The UCI last year voted to phase out the use of radio earpieces in the professional peloton by 2012, concerned that the technology was eroding the spontaneity and tactics of bike racing.

The ban, already in place for under-23 and junior cycling tours, was extended to the world championships and elite men’s and women’s Class Two events in the UCI’s international calendar in a notice issued in November last year.

It will be extended to include all major races, including the Tour de France, from next year, the UCI has said, adding that the ban was to ensure races were held in the right “spirit.”

“It’s so that the races aren’t decided and played by people sitting in a car,” the spokesman told reporters by telephone. “We would like to restore the spirit of the racing. You are the rider, you have to decide based on your instincts, you have decide by yourself what you have to do, whether to attack or not.”

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