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Confirming suggestions made recently by its president Brian Cookson that disc brakes could make their debut in the peloton this year, the UCI has announced that this will indeed go ahead and the first such usage will occur in just over three month’s time.
“During the 2015 UCI professional road season, all teams will have the opportunity to use bikes with disc brakes at two events of their choice during August and September,” the governing body stated.
“The testing will continue in 2016 at all events on the UCI professional road calendar and, if the experience is satisfactory, disc brakes will be officially introduced to the UCI WorldTour in 2017. The aim is to eventually introduce disc brakes to all levels of road cycling.”
The UCI and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) have been engaged in a long process to study if such systems are viable and safe and, if so, when they should be introduced. They have engaged in consultations with various stakeholders and now a clear plan of action is starting to emerge.
Cookson recently spoke to CyclingTips on the subject and has now elaborated on that in today’s announcement.
“Although disc brakes have been used for around a decade in mountain biking and for the last two years in cyclo-cross, their introduction to road cycling must be carefully studied in collaboration with all those who are directly concerned,” he stated.
“That includes riders, teams and manufacturers. This step is part of the UCI’s desire to encourage innovation in order to ensure cycling is even more attractive for spectators, riders, bike users and broadcasters.”
WFSGI Secretary General Robbert de Kock said that the feedback from the industry has been very positive.
“This decision will further develop innovation and create new possibilities for the bicycle industry as well as additional performance for the riders,” he stated. “There is still some fine-tuning to do on detailed requirements for the procedure, but it is very exciting to finally have reached this decision.”
In recent months several questions have been raised by those within the sport about the implementation and use of such systems. The question of how riders on standard and disc brakes would co-exist during the trial period was one, with some asking if the more powerful disc systems could in themselves cause issues.
Others have wondered about complications to neutral service support, with additional wheels needing to be carried and also potentially slower wheel change times.
De Kock said that more work was being done. “The remaining open topics such as neutral race support or the UCI and Teams protocol will be tackled soon,” he stated.
The UCI has said that more information would be issued at a later point.
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