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The last time pro road racing tried disc brakes, racers called them “spinning knives” and dismissed them as a menace. So this time, the UCI will give them spinning spoons.
Well, sort of. The UCI is preparing to implement another disc brake trial within road racing, this time with dulled, rounded disc rotors. There will also be a more formal trial and review process, and approval from the pros.
UCI Technical Manager Mark Barfield sent a letter to professional road racers on Thursday detailing the governing body’s efforts to begin a safe and effective disc trial, which could happen as early as this coming season. Barfield also requested feedback, inviting athletes to share their thoughts on the new technology.
“We would like to take this opportunity to reach out directly to you as riders to welcome your input during this process,” Barfield said in the letter.
Safety concerns ended the last trial almost before it began. In April, a disc trial was abruptly halted after Fran Ventoso (Movistar) claimed a disc rotor sliced him in a crash at Paris-Roubaix.
The UCI believes that the rounded edges required for the next trial should remove the risk injury and lessen the problems with wheel changes.
Discs were banned in pro road racing until the end of 2015, when a two-month trial period was conducted. Their use was allowed early in 2016, until the cutting incident at Paris-Roubaix led the UCI to ban their use once again.
“The cycling industry has also worked hard to address the other concerns expressed such as heat build up and dissipation, difference in braking ability and provision of neutral service. A great deal of progress has been made in these areas and the UCI is now carefully considering a restart of the trial in early 2017,” Barfield said.
The UCI has consulted the AIGCP, which represents teams, and the CPA, which represents riders, and both groups do not oppose a new trial.
Barfield requested feedback from the pros regarding the re-start of a trial. “If the trial is re-started we would also like to encourage you to feedback as much as possible during this trial period,” he said. “This would be a genuine test period and not a phased introduction and as such rider input is vital in the decision making process about the future authorisation for disc brake use in road competition.”