The UCI has reportedly decided to end the trial of disc brakes at road races in response to concerns about rider safety. The move has been welcomed by the professional riders’ association, the CPA.
The Norwegian website Procycling.no said this evening that Harald Tiedemann Hansen, who heads the UCI’s equipment commission, had confirmed that the experiment, ongoing since the autumn, would be discontinued.
Earlier today, the Movistar rider Fran Ventoso published a lengthy open letter on Facebook together with graphic photos of the injuries he sustained at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday which he said were due to a disc brake cutting him when he was involved in a crash with a number of other riders.
Two teams ran disc brakes at Sunday’s race – Lampre-Merida and Direct Energie – and Ventoso said that another rider, Etixx-Quick Step’s Nikolas Maes, also sustained a cut to the knee due to a disc brake when he crashed in the Arenberg Trench.
It should be pointed out that doubts have been cast on Ventoso’s assertion that a disc brake was to blame for his injury, not least because it was to his left leg and he stayed upright during the crash, so another rider’s bike would have had to have flipped round for him to come into contact with the disc.
Indeed, Lampre-Merida team manager Brent Copeland, present with one of his riders in the same hospital where the Spaniard was being treated, suggested to Cycling Weekly that aero spokes could have caused a similar injury.
As far as Maes is concerned, road.cc’s Mat Brett was right by where the crash happened on the Arenberg sector, and the sequence of photos he shot including the Belgian rider crashing do not show any Direct Energie or Lampre-Merida rider in the vicinity.
Nevertheless, the incidents have focused attention on whether disc brakes have a place in the professional peloton in their current form – some have suggested that if they are to be permitted, guards should also be fitted – and on the disquiet of some riders and the CPA, which is said to be “very happy” regarding the suspension, about their use.
The organisation, chaired by the Italian former pro Gianni Bugno, says that while it is not opposed to the introduction of new technology in road cycling, it does want its members to be consulted on any changes to regulations before they happen.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.