Race Radios

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I was just reading this article on cyclingnews about Lance launching his first attack at the TdU in the past 3 years.

Armstrong admitted he and Astana team director Johan Bruyneel hadn’t planned on the attack. In fact Armstrong said it wasn’t the smartest strategic move on his part.

"No, and Johan doesn’t know this yet, but my radio was unplugged at that moment," he smiled. "We had this debate this morning because he wanted to tape the cable into the radio and I said ‘no, no, no, no, you don’t need to tape it’. Since he’s sitting here I’ll go ahead and tell him that it kept coming unplugged. I should have learnt over the last 10 years but I didn’t hear anything at that point.

I’ve used race radios many times in the past and I’m of the opinion that it makes the bike racers DUMB .  You get accustomed to listening to the orders called out, stop thinking for yourself and stop paying attention to the race.  It sounds like Lance didn’t have any communication going on, he wasn’t thinking for himself and made a DUMB move.  Not that it was of any consequence this time, but it drives the point home.  Lance is not a dumb guy, but you can see how his relying on the race radio all the time made him make "not the smartest strategic move ".

Surely you can make point that if everyone has race radios then it’s an even playing field.  True, but I it takes the pureness out of the sport.   Cyclists need to be able to make their own smart split-second decisions while suffering.  If someone is going to make a suicide attack that should be up to his own accord (although I used to love it when Ulrich would pull his radio out of his ear and make a dumb move anyway).  That’s what makes this sport so dramatic!

I’d rather see race radios banned from all racing so that the race can happen as it’s supposed to happen and not have the advantage of a directeur sportif  seeing the race on TV from his car and knowing information that the peloton isn’t aware of.  You don’t see hockey or football players carrying race radios and making plays based on orders.  How about the "no coaching" rule in Tennis?  These plays and tactics need to be practiced again and again until they’re second nature.  A good example is the failed 1-2 at the Aussie Nationals where Rogers and Hansen failed to outfox MacDonald at the finish.  That should have never happened if these guys had been prepared (or if they had race radios).  Any other professional athlete in another sport would have had that tactic nailed down.  Am I wrong?