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.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.