UCI vote to ban race radios

Aim to make racing more interesting

World cycling chiefs have voted to ban the two-way radios which most professional teams rely on to help dictate tactics and to aid with security during races.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) management committee, meeting here at the world road race championships which end Sunday, said they would phase out the use of the two-way radios which link riders to their team cars.

Race radios are already banned in junior and under 23 races.

Detractors of the radios claim their use renders races more predictable, and thus more boring to watch.

Advocates of the radios, such as former Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel and Saxo Bank boss Bjarne Riis, say radios are a necessity for modern day bike racing.

A UCI statement released late Wednesday said: "After a thorough discussion of the subject of the use of two-way radio in races, the Management Committee decided to accept the UCI Road Commission's recommendation to gradually phase out the use of two-way radio for all categories of rider.

"The members were of the opinion that two-way radio distorts the nature of cycle sport. They also took into account the desire expressed by the majority of those involved in cycling to prohibit the equipment.

"A ban on two-way radio is already in place for the Junior and Under-23 categories. It was agreed that a calendar for implementation of this measure would be drawn up."

It means that radios will be eventually phased out, although the likes of Bruyneel, who is set to take over Lance Armstrong's team RadioShack in time for the 2010 season, and Riis would be among the first protesters.

© AFP 2009

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