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by Mark Zalewski
March 1, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Mareczko wins second Langkawi stage sprint; Hurel wins La Tropicale Amissa Bongo stage 2; Is Specialized pressuring riders to use disc brakes? Yes and no; Professional Cyclists Association sends legal warning to UCI over disc brakes; Pauline Ferrand-Prévot to race on the road, starting at Strade Bianche; Debate over proposal to reduce Grand Tour team sizes ongoing; Boonen alters race plan due to illness, crashes; Iranian Team Pishgaman suspended for multiple doping positives; 2018 Tour de France Grand Départ announced; Lotto-Soudal to be Lotto-Fix ALL for Paris-Nice; Tour de Langkawi, stage 6 highlights; Video: UCI Track World Cup Los Angeles highlights; Video: Paris-Nice teaser; Peter Sagan downs gummy bears post-race.
The war of words surrounding the use of disc brakes in the pro peloton continued over the weekend, with Lotto-Soudal rider Adam Hansen claiming that American bike brand Specialized is forcing its sponsored riders — Tom Boonen, in particular — to publicly throw their support behind the technology, despite opposing them personally.
“Tom Boonen was against disc brakes last year,” Hansen said in an interview with Australian network SBS. “Now he’s retiring this year and loves them.”
A quick look back at Boonen’s own words, howeveras, suggests that’s not quite accurate. Back when he was with VeloNews, CyclingTips editor Neal Rogers asked Boonen directly about his thoughts on what was then a forbidden tool in the professional arsenal.
“I’ve never used [discs] before, except on a mountain bike,” Boonen said in 2014. “I’d love to try it in training, and in a race. I think it has its advantages — you see how scary it is to go downhill in a race with no brakes or almost no brakes. The problem now with carbon rims is 50 percent of your brake power is gone when it starts raining, so it’s maybe a good thing that they will allow it, or should allow it.
“The brakes are only for safety, and I don’t really get the point when they say you can’t really have any better brakes,” he continued. “Any other sport that has to go fast and depends on speed, like motorsport, they all depend on brakes. Brakes allow you to go faster. And much safer. And we can’t use those brakes.”
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