UCI lifts Tour radio ban for Stage 13

Radio on! UCI relents to allow teams to ride with radios on Stage 13

by Tony Farrelly   July 16, 2009  

Tour de France 2009 sunflower logo

Phew! To the relief of Johan, Lance and everyone else in the peloton that just can't live without their radio, the UCI and ASO have caved in to team and rider pressure and lifted the ban on teams using radio communication during Stage 13 tomorrow between Vittel and Colmar.

Cycling fans who hoped to see a return to the days before team directeur sportifs controlled the race action will be disappointed though. The climbdown comes despite the fact that representatives of both teams and riders agreed to the proposal at a meeting with the UCI on 3rd June. However the experiment fell foul of powerful teams such as Astana and Saxo Bank, with the former complaining long and loudly about the proposal. 

Tuesday's Stage 10 was ridden without radios and either on the orders of their bosses or of their own choice the riders rode at a stately pace for almost the entire stage effectively killing it as a spectacle. Tellingly in an interview beforehand Lance Armstrong was able to call the winner, more or less when the break would be caught and how far it would get up the road before they did so.

The UCI statement

"To put an end to the controversy which is compromising the running of the Tour de France, the International Cycling Union (UCI) Management Committee has decided not to repeat the experiment of a stage without radio communication on Friday 17th July.

The UCI Management Committee, it should be remembered, had given its approval, at the request of the organisers, to ban radios during two stages of the French race (14thand 17th July) as a trial and with a view to evaluating such a measure.

This proposition was discussed and supported by representatives of the riders (CPA), teams (AIGCP) and organisers (AIOCC) who met in Geneva on June 3rd and decided to submit the proposition to the UCI Management Committee.

The UCI pursues the debate on the appropriateness of using radios during racing and will continue to consult all those involved in cycling as far as their use is concerned. "