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UCI delays total ban of race radio for now

By Andrew Hood • Published

COPENHAGEN (VN) —The elite men will race without two-way race radio in Sunday’s world championship event for the second consecutive year.

How much influence the radio silence will have on the mostly flat, sprinter-friendly course remains to be seen, but the highly divisive issue has cooled down as of late.

The UCI has decided to postpone the introduction of an outright race ban in all pro racing for at least another year, smoothing the way for the top professional teams to attend next month’s Tour of Beijing.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said a compromise had been hashed out between cycling’s governing body and the top pro teams.

“The teams eventually saw that it was a mistake to mix disagreements over the UCI rules and regulations with the Tour of Beijing,” McQuaid told VeloNews. “They are two separate things altogether. They have decided to go to Beijing.”

The top teams were threatening to boycott the UCI-backed Beijing race after tempers flared this spring as the rhetoric heated up over the proposed radio ban.

Most of the top teams are opposed to plans to phase out two-way radio communication.

The radios are already banned in all events except the major tours and ProTour events, but both sides were digging in their heels as the UCI pushed toward banning radios in all pro events for the 2012 season.

Instead of pushing the issue to the breaking point, McQuaid agreed to allow the radios in next year’s biggest events, such as the grand tours and the classics.

McQuaid also said an independent panel will be created to “study the issue.”

“We are hoping we can find a resolution over the next season. Our viewpoints are still the same, The teams still want race radio and the UCI thinks cycling will be better without radios,” McQuaid said.

“An independent commission will discuss with all the stakeholders and toward the end of next year come up with a decision. It’s better to do it that way, because this has nothing to do with the Tour of Beijing.”

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