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by Shane Stokes
April 14, 2016
Photography by Matt Wikstrom
Stating that rider safety is an absolute priority, the UCI has confirmed media reports on Wednesday that the usage of disc brakes in the peloton will be suspended.
The braking systems came under the spotlight in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix when the Spanish rider Fran Ventoso suffered serious lacerations in a crash. Rumoured since the race, Ventoso’s injury was confirmed by the rider himself yesterday.
He released an open letter describing how the injuries were sustained, and also releasing some rather gruesome images of the damage.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today announces that it has decided to suspend, with immediate effect, the trial of disc brakes currently being carried out in road races,” said the governing body in a statement.
“This decision follows a request to do so made by the Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP) – which represents all professional cycling teams – following the injuries suffered by Movistar Team rider Francisco Ventoso at Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix Classic. This request is supported by the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), which represents riders.”
The communication verifies reports on Norwegian media on Wednesday evening that the UCI was moving on the issue.
In Thursday’s statement, the UCI said that the first tests of disc brakes in races were carried out in August and September of last year.
“After in-depth discussions with stakeholders, the UCI then decided to authorise riders from all categories of professional road teams to use disc brakes in 2016, and to closely monitor their use during the year.”
That authorisation has now been revoked, at least temporarily. There have been suggestions that the safety issue could be addressed by fitting guards to the discs, and thus shielding riders from the metal.
This will likely be one of the possible solutions considered in the discussions which will arise out of Ventoso’s injury.
The UCI said that talks would be held on the matter.
“The UCI will now continue its extensive consultations on this subject by way of its Equipment Commission, which is made up of representatives of teams, riders, mechanics, fans, commissaires and the bicycle industry – via the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) –, all the while reaffirming that rider security has always been and will always remain its absolute priority.”