Races across Europe may be hit by strike action by riders later this month as the row continues over the UCI’s insistence on pressing ahead with phasing out race radios.
Last week, UCI President Pat McQuaid held clear-the-air talks with team managers belonging to the Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP – International Association of Professional Cycling Groups), which represents pro cycling’s top teams.
At that meeting at UCI headquarters in Switzerland, McQuaid reinforced the governing body’s stance, while conceding that the initiative would be reviewed on an ongoing basis, particularly as regards safety.
That appears to have done little to appease team bosses however, with further action set to be taken by the AIGCP similar to that which disrupted last month’s Mallorca Challenge, where the result of the first day’s racing was annulled as a radio ban was ignored.
The strikes set to hit three races later this month are being threatened by the riders themselves, however, rather than the teams they represent, through the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA).
CPA President Gianni Bugno, twice world champion, winner of Milan-Sanremo and stages in all three Grand Tours as well as the overall classification in the Giro d’Italia, revealed the oproposed action yesterday.
“On 26 March the strike will involve Italy, France and Belgium, insofar as there are planned for that day a stage of the Coppi & Bartali, one of the Criterium International in France, and the GP Harelbeke in Belgium; they are three days in which, due to UCI rules, radio earpieces are banned,” said Bugno, according to a report in
The 47-year-old continued: “I have the proxy for 400 athletes and feel that I have to propose such a hard measure because the world federation [the UCI] not only won’t meet us, but also has never given an explanation on why radios can’t be used, with serious prejudice to race safety.”
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.