Friday, February 26, 2010

The case for race radios

Our team manager Ben and I were talking today about the race radio debate. As you may know, the UCI has banned race radios and we can't use them anymore in races. I've raced with them and without them, and my first thought when I heard about the impending ban was, 'Great! Now riders will have to think for themselves.' It means breakaways are more likely to succeed (like what happened today) because riders don't have someone on the other end of a radio telling them how big the gap is and when they should attack. So it encourages risk-takers, which I think is a good thing for racing.

However, after yesterday's stage i am now firmly in favour of radios. Yesterday we had a number of crashes, bad weather and sections of loose gravel unsealed roads that we didn't know about before we hit them. In one case, drivers in the convoy only narrowly avoided hitting riders on the road after a crash on a blind corner. The managers had gotten out of team cars to flag people to slow down, but we were lucky no one got seriously hurt. Especially in wet conditions when braking power is reduced, we need all the help we can get to keep races as safe as possible. Radios play an important role in warning riders of upcoming obstacles and sudden changes... as well as telling them when to attack.

3 comments:

  1. Couldn't the course dangers be discussed at the Team meet prior to the race/stage?

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  2. Yep, but they are quickly forgotten in the heat of racing and don't allow for any up to date info, ie "dogs on the road, pay attention"

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  3. Having said that I am still undecided on the ban...

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