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Manufacturers hit back in pro peloton disc brake row

Cycling industry body says recent Owain Doull incident wasn't related to disc brakes and trial of the new technology should continue

The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), the body that represents many of the biggest manufacturers in the bicycle industry, has issued a statement on the UCI’s disc brake trial in road racing stating that the damage to Owain Doull's shoe in the Abu Dhabi Tour last week was unlikely to have been caused by a disc brake.

We reported earlier today that the pro riders’ union, Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), is threatening legal action against the UCI over its disc brake safety concerns, and the fierce debate over the introduction of this technology shows no signs of abating up any time soon. 

“The investigation into the accident of Owain Doull is still ongoing and the available material is being studied carefully,” said the WFSGI in its statement. 

“After the first material and image investigations, we can say that a disc brake accident can, most likely, be excluded.”

Owain Doull himself believes that the damage was caused by a disc brake. 

The WFSGI also referred back to an accident in last year’s Paris-Roubaix when Francisco Ventoso sustained a leg injury. Ventoso claimed that the damage was caused by a disc brake although a forensic report on the injury and a report on the reconstruction of the accident commissioned by the WFSGI conclude otherwise.  

Check out our look at whether disc brakes have really led to injuries in the peloton that we published in the wake of Ventoso’s injury. 

“The UCI has installed a working group consisting out of members from the WFSGI, the rider representative CPA, the team’s organisation (Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels, AIGCP) and the UCI itself,” the WFSGI explains in its statement.

“This working group closely monitors the trial of disc brakes in road racing, reports incidents and studies potential improvements for the usage of disc brakes in road racing. The experts from the different organisations in this working group are empowered for making proposals to the UCI equipment commission.

“Today the industry provides both brake systems and leaves the decision as to which system to use (rim or disc) to each team and/or rider.”

We reported on Sunday that Lotto-Soudal’s pro rider Adam Hansen claims that Specialized is trying to force disc brakes on the pro peloton.

Tom Boonen on disc brakes (source Quick Step Floors Cycling Team on Facebook).jpg

Many people have spoken of safety concerns relating to the differing performance of rim brakes and disc brakes when used alongside one another in the pro peloton.

“It shall be known that some material/combinations currently used in pro racing already show a clear difference in brake performance," said the WFSGI.

"Some combinations may not even live up to the legal requirements set by international standards (CEN/ISO) for commercial bicycles.

“That’s why the UCI working group has identified this key point and is looking into ways to improve the level of safety for pro riders by enforcing minimal standards of brake performance. That can be taken as a starting point to eliminate concerns of different braking performance regardless the brake system used.”

Referring to the possibility of riders being injured by disc rotors, the WFSGI said, “Evidence on cuts under racing conditions is not available since there has been no reported accident with disc brakes so far. 

“Nevertheless, the industry agreed with UCI, CPA and AIGCP on rounded disc brake rotors in order to react on the perceived risk by riders, as well as to support a faster exchange of the wheels from neutral support and team’s service. It has to be mentioned that the ISO standard 4210-2; 4.2 does already require exposed edges on the entire bicycle to not be sharp.”

The WFSGI argues that the UCI’s disc brake trial should continue.

“A fair chance of a testing period should be acceptable given all above facts,” said the WFSGI. 

“The WFSGI will continue to work closely with the UCI, CPA and AIGCP in order to make a smooth introduction of disc brakes into professional road racing.”

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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