Sixteen team directors walked out of a UCI meeting in Brussels Monday, protesting the way the sanctioning body is dealing with disagreement over its race radio ban.
The meeting agenda included a wide variety of topics, including anti-doping and bike technology discussions. According to a media release from the team association AIGCP, a discussion of the radio ban was one of the last subjects on the agenda.
The association requested the discussion be moved earlier. When the UCI rejected the proposal and after a series of increasingly heated emails, 16 of the 18 teams at the meeting walked out.
According to emails shared by AIGCP president Jonathan Vaughters, the manager of Garmin-Cervelo, the discussion began with the request made Sunday to move the radio discussion earlier. The group also said then that it planned to propose an independent study of the use of race radios.
The UCI’s Philippe Chevallier wrote back rejecting the agenda change, saying that he found it unacceptable to make a last-minute change to an agenda that had been published on April 1. Chevallier also said that the schedule was difficult to change because media representatives were scheduled to discuss the radio ban on the original schedule. He said that the teams would be able to propose the independent study at the appropriate time.
Vaughters wrote back that the teams ‘will need to reflect on’ the UCI’s stance.
“I regret to say that your rejection of our reasonable request and unilateral decision to invite the media reflect an attitude to the teams that is “unacceptable and unprofessional,” Vaughters wrote Chevallier.
UCI president Pat McQuaid responded to Vaughters a half hour later:
I have had enough of this High Moral Ground from you and I am refraining myself from writing exactly what I am thinking
Enough to inform you that when I have finished with the teams today you will have plenty to “reflect” on and communication will be the furthest thing from your mind !!”
An AIGCP media statement released after the walkout reiterated its stance that the radio ban endangers riders.
“The UCI seeks to compromise safety by banning unilaterally the proven system of team radios that warn our riders of unexpected dangers. They used excuses of “media invitations” and a lack of notice of the request to avoid the debate. Their “bureaucracy before safety” does not inspire confidence or create goodwill.”