Earlier today, USA Cycling announced that radios will now be banned in all USA Cycling road and track races – that means all NRC road races.
In response to a request from the UCI that radios be banned in all national calendar races, the USCF Board of Trustees met and amended the rule regarding the use of race radios in all USA Cycling sanctioned road and track races.
In 2010, race radios will only be allowed for use by teams and riders in UCI Category HC or Category 1 races in the U.S. per UCI regulations.
Rule 1N6 Pg. 57, which takes effect immediately, now reads:
“Riders may not use radios, telephones, or other such communication devices. No earpieces may be worn. Audio playback devices are expressly forbidden.”
“I would like to thank the USCF Trustees for moving quickly in response to the request we received from the UCI,” said Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling. “Although I think the jury is still out regarding the future of radios in our sport, given the current direction being set by the UCI indicating their intent to phase out radio usage across the board, we all agreed that it was important to make this adjustment now rather than later in the season.”
Let’s recap. After a meeting in Switzerland on September 23, the UCI Management Committee decided to ban gradually the use of earpiece radios for all categories of rider. The ban was already in place for the Junior and U23 categories. The radio ban is now expanded to cover UCI *.2 events for Elite Women and Men in 2010. Events impacted are in the UCI international calendar, the national calendar as well as the UCI World Championships.
Following this new ruling from USA Cycling, only 3 UCI road races in the United States are not impacted by the ban: the Amgen Tour of California, Philadelphia International Championships and Tour of Missouri which are all .HC races.
Note that the two ProTour races held in Canada, le Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and le Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal are also not affected by the UCI radio ban this year.
Pros and cons. Team VBF Director Sportif Lisa Hunt discussed the pros and cons of a radio bans a few weeks ago.
“The pros are that it allows the riders to make some decisions themselves and take a few risks that they may not normally take when they have the comfort and the security of a radio. And they have to think, they have to be on their toes, they can’t let a breakaway go up the road thinking ‘oh yeah it will come back, we just have to wait’.”
The cons can be simply stated as a safety concern as team manager have been able to communicate and relay upcoming road hazards to the riders. “That is something that needs to be taken into consideration and I’m hoping there is a remedy to that situation.”
The safety issue is primordial for all involved. How will safety of the riders be ensured on races where the roads are not closed? Or when a rider is dropped behind the rolling enclosure?
How will riders be notified of road issues that were not in the race bible, hazards on the road, broken down cars,…. it all happens at races. And EMTs needing access to the road… the list is long. Hopefully race organizers will take the radio ban into account.
What do YOU think?