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.”
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.