David Lappartient believes that pro riders’ radio earpieces leave cycling vulnerable to race fixing. The new UCI president has also expressed his distaste for power meters, saying that they made racing “sterile”.
"Sports betting is like an iceberg,” Lappartient told Het Laatste Nieuws. “Ninety percent of the bets are illegal and happen below the waterline.
“That's how it is in football, tennis and handball. I do not want to get to a day when cycling – once we have clambered from the valley of doping, and the fight against mechanical fraud has been successfully carried out – is undermined by corruption and gambling scandals.”
He believes that earpieces make cycling “very sensitive” to the influence of online betting as it provides a means by which competitors can be given instructions while a race is in progress.
"You can communicate directly with the rider in the race. Officially, the connection goes from a team car to a rider. But technologically, there is nothing that prevents me or you from calling the wearer of the yellow jersey during a stage of the Tour, right?"
Lappartient says he wants to ban race radios from the 2018 World Championships in Innsbruck.
The UCI, under Pat McQuaid, attempted to impose a similar ban on radios in 2011. However, the move met with resistance from some teams and they are currently still used in World Tour and other high level races.
Lappartient’s latest comments come shortly after he announced that he was looking to introduce a full ban on corticosteroids from 2019.