UCI commissaires at Saturday’s Superprestige Gavere cyclocross race in Belgium have grounded a drone moments after broadcasting its first exciting on course images.
Cyclocross fans were treated to the new and immersive chase footage of Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) cornering, accelerating, and sliding as she tackled the Gavere course. The drone swooped onto the course just behind Brand, following the former world champion through a series of bends and rises. The footage conveys the sheer speed and technical skills of one of the world’s best cyclocross riders as the drone struggles to keep pace, giving spectators an in-race ride that more traditional footage can rarely match.
It wasn’t to last long though. Moments after its first flight, the UCI commissaires moved to ground the drone, presumably on safety grounds. The drone did after all fly on the course, at rider height, directly behind Brand, and evidently, that did not fly with the UCI. While the UCI has made no official comment on the drone, the decision should perhaps come as no surprise. UCI regulation 1.2.065 on the “general organisation of cycling as a sport” clearly outlaws the use of drones on course.
Without prejudice to stricter requirements according to the national legislation, the use of drones is prohibited above the course and within 10 meters from the course.
Moreover, the user must ensure the drone at no time puts the security of riders, followers and spectators at risk.UCI regulation 1.2.065
Lucinda Brand seems to be a fan, though, and took to social media to thank those involved in making the drone footage. In a two-part tweet, the European cyclocross champion explained she was aware of the planned drone footage before the start and assumed it was safe, “The drone is small and it looks like the propellers are protected to not hurt someone. Hope to see these shots again in the next races!!”
a big shoutout to the people who introduced this to our sport! I think a drone like this is an amazing feature to make the broadcasts even more interesting!Lucinda Brand
Brand concluded the tweet with a poll, “So what do you think BAN or FAN?”, to which 96.3% have answered “more of this please”. With only 3.7% (at the time of writing) responding “Nope, dangerous”.