Eleven days ago, USA Cycling has announced their decision to permit race radios at NRC race and reverse the ban instituted the previous year. That decision went against UCI rule. Well it didn’t take long for the UCI to apply pressure and today, USA Cycling reversed its decision and race radios will once again be banned at all NRC and National Championship races. Did USA Cycling make this first reversal without checking with the UCI?
The radio ban decision has been the lighting rod that has ignited a war of words between the riders and the Pro Teams via the AIGCP on one side and the UCI led by Pat McQuaid on the other. For the teams, the radios are essential for security and the banning shows that they have no voice in the decision-making and leadership of the sport. For the UCI, keeping the earpieces would lead to a decrease of television coverage which means a decrease in money made from the TV rights.
The battle has heated up even more with the talk of 11 major teams considering plans to break away from the UCI as reported by cyclingnews.
The AIGCP have also threatened to pull out of the Tour of Beijing scheduled for 5-9 October. Why this race? Because it is the only race that is promoted directly by the UCI.
Meanwhile, the parties are exchanging open letters via the media while no direct conversation is being held to solve the problem and move forwards.How will this end?
And McQuaid’s photo should be next to the ‘top 10 PR goofs’ after reading his last open letter.
USA Cycling Press Release.
Based on concerns raised by cycling’s international federation, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), USA Cycling reversed its earlier decision and will continue the ban on the use of race radios in all national-level competition; including USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) and national championship events.
“After consultation with the UCI, it is apparent that allowing race radios in domestic NRC races would negatively impact the UCI registered teams and riders who would no longer be allowed to compete in these events,” explained Bill Peterson, president of the USA Cycling board of directors and USPRO board member. “The absence of UCI registered teams and riders would have a highly detrimental impact, not only on the team sponsors, but also on the hard working NRC promoters and the sponsors and communities who support these races.”
“While we remain convinced of the value of race radios with regard to their potential for increased safety for riders and spectators,” said Steve Johnson, USA Cycling CEO, “we will respect the UCI’s request to continue the ban of race radios in national calendar races and national championships.”