The U.S. team’s best hope for a medal at Sunday’s world championship road race says the absence of race radios at a world championship event is “stupid.” And several other top pros agree with Tyler Farrar.
“There’s no reason to take away race radios,” Farrar told VeloNews.
“I don’t really know why we want to go backwards… Are we going to have a day where we race in wool jerseys, or a day when we race with a single speed? The future of the sport is technology, and radios make the race safer. I don’t understand the move backwards, really, so I’m definitely one of the riders opposed to it.”
The UCI’s decision to ban radios at an elite level is part of a planned phasing out of two-way communication between riders and their sport directors, which the governing body feels has stymied the unpredictability and excitement traditionally associated with the sport.
At the 2009 Tour de France, the UCI tested a radio ban on stages 10 and 13. After the first stage was run, however, 14 out of the 20 competing teams lodged a petition in protest, which saw the UCI cede to the teams’ appeal to reinstate radios for stage 13.
Reigning world champion Cadel Evans agrees with Farrar. “I am just abiding by the rules – I don’t make them,” Evans said. “But it is a bit strange for everyone. Normally such a dramatic rule change is eased into. It’s a big change and (there is) a lot that we have got to adjust to.”
Fabian Cancellara was more forthright in his opinion.
“We are in 2010. We are not in 1996 or 1960 or whatever. We are in modern times. The radios aren’t here to get riders information that they have to breathe, to pedal, to push the pedals — the most important reason (for race radios) is safety. When there’s something happening, when something is coming on the road, you have to get information.”