USA Cycling has finally made a decision on the issue of race radios being used in the pro tours, and their answer is NO. This decision by the American cycling body apparently follows UCI’s lead when the latter moved to ban radios in almost all of its cycling events.
The UCI has been banning race radios in their events for the last two years. It started with the U23 races and slowly but surely extended into the lower-level elite cycling events. USA Cycling has been modelling most of their elite events in accordance with UCI regulations, so their latest move to ban radios may come as no surprise to anyone
The debate over race radios started last Monday when USA Cycling directors met to discuss their moves on whether or not they will be adapting the UCI ban on the communication devices. As a matter of fact, this has been considered as long overdue by many observers and participants in the American pro peloton.
But what exactly is the problem with race radios, anyway? Well, the major problem lies with strategy in the races. Complaints are being raised that race radios are putting most of the strategic aspect of the sport into the hands of the team directors, therefore reducing the role of the rider into just following what the coaches say.
Critics are saying that the ban on race radios will also eliminate the team’s ability to provide advance warning of dangers on the road. This has actually been tested in last year’s Tour de France, where organizers banned the devices during stage 10. A huge protest was mounted by the riders, which resultd in the ban being scrapped at the 13th stage.
With the ban finally falling into place, only three U.S. cycling events will be exempt from using radios. These will be the Tour of California, Tour of Missouri, and the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship. All of the events mentioned are being exempted due to their 1.HC and 2.HC UCI classifications.