The Movistar rider was reportedly injured after colliding with a disc brake at Paris-Roubaix, but Lampre-Merida manager Brent Copeland says he finds that difficult to believe

Francisco Ventoso said that a disc brake sliced his left shin in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, but Lampre-Merida team manager Brent Copeland says he is not convinced after seeing the injury.

Copeland, alongside his rider Federico Zurlo, spent four hours with team Movistar’s Spaniard in the hospital waiting room.

Ventoso crashed on the Quérénaing sector, at 115km to race when Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) were distanced from the favourites, and reports suggested a disc brake from a Direct Energie team bike sliced his shin.

“He was still sitting there in the waiting room at 7pm when we left,” Copeland told Cycling Weekly.

“I saw him when he came in, the cut was really bad, you can see that something sliced his leg. ‘Look at the bottom of the cut,’ Francisco said, ‘You can see it’s cut like a blade from a disc.’

“It looked as though a blade sliced him, but how? I’m not 100% convinced that it was a disc, it could have been aero spokes.”

Given the cut on his left leg and that discs mount on the left side of bikes, Copeland said it becomes harder to believe that it could have been from a disc brake. However, he said it is possible that Ventoso tumbled and landed in such a way for it to happen.

The French Pro Continental team Direct Energie uses Shimano disc brakes, as do Italian WorldTour team Lampre-Merida. In Roubaix, both teams raced with the system.

“If this is the case [that it was caused by a disc], ” Copeland added, “Shimano, SRAM and everyone else need to create shields. A protection must be made.”

“We will keep working with our bike supplier Merida. We already have a cooling duct around the rear disc, something like this could be added on the front for safety.

“The UCI needs to make the decision on disc safety modification. It would be better for the riders. I would prefer it.”

Copeland, however, wants to keep using discs brakes in his team. “I see discs as the way forward, the breaking is phenomenal.”

More on this story

The UCI said in a statement to Cycling Weekly that it “was very concerned to hear of the incident that occurred this weekend at Paris-Roubaix which resulted in the injury of Movistar rider Francisco Ventoso.

“The 2016 season marks the second trial year for disc brakes in the pro peloton and we will study this incident carefully.”

  • John Westwell

    Strangely enough, Keith, I was watching a DVD of highlights from last year’s Paris-Roubaix and a very similar crash occurred where the rider behind put his left leg down much as I described. The only difference was that the rider in front toppled over and the bike fell to the right, but you could see how easy it would be to tangle your leg up with a disc and not realise that anything has happened.

  • Keith Jones

    That’s a good point, and I hadn’t considered that. Thank you 🙂 It’s certainly consistent with the description given of the injury, which is on the inner side of the leg.

    I’ve been doing a bit of research and a few rough workings. At 43km an hour (which is slightly slower than the average speed of the race, since I have no exact figure for the speed the peloton was going at the time of the incident) the discs will be rotating a approximately 6.11 revs per second, which works out to be between 0.86 and 0.98 metres per second (3, to 3.5 km an hour depending on if it was a 140mm of 160mm diameter disc). What we need is some kind of test to see the effects of a disc rotating at that speed impacting with flesh (OK! I’m not a barbarian, so flesh-substitute will do)…

  • Stephen Hawkins

    The high end hope disks, hydraulics etc on my MTB are lighter than the mid end shimano rim brakes and cables, and a disk only wheel can be lighter than a rim brake rim. UCI bikes already need ballast added to meet weight requirements so its a non issue. The Shimano brakes the teams use are very bulky compared to top end MTB ones

  • Dr.Optix

    I’m not convinced. Yes it can happen for you to injury yourself on more parts of the bike other than the disks. I never heard about something like this in MTB XC races. If you ask me a chain ring without a bash guard is more dangerous.

    I recently bought a road bike with rim brakes because the one with discs at the same price point was 1 kg heavier, but if I could reach the price point of the one with discs but at the same weight as the one with rim brakes I would’ve bought the disc equiped one.

  • John Westwell

    If his wheel front overlapped to the right of the wheel of the rider in front and he unclipped his left leg and put it down in front of him or ecen dangled it out to regain his balance (so on the left side of the rear wheel of the rider in front), he could easily have had it touch the disc. I’ve run up against the back of a tyre before and unclipped to find my leg almost tangled up in the wheel. As someone else has said, it should be easy enough to determine the shape of the cut. Although as the UCI has now banned discs, it’s probably not required.

  • Dan Vogel

    Well Brent Copland and Harry,
    The UCI is convinced.
    Say bye bye to the disc

  • Dan Vogel

    Well Brent Copland, the UCI is convinced.
    Bye bye disc

  • Keith Jones

    I’m not convinvced because I struggle to see how the disc could have hit that part of his leg. If it was his right leg, then ok I can believe that, but it was his left, and the discs mount on the left side of the wheel (as pointed out by Lampre’s manager). Even if the front wheel managed to turn almost back on itself, I still find it hard to see how he could get cut by the disc…

    Regardless, I hope he is ok and riding again soon.

  • Weccy

    The “breaking” is phenomenal, lol, could that be braking???

  • blemcooper

    It’d be interesting if they took some MRI scans or by some other method determined the shape and depth of the cut, we may know for sure.

    E.g. if the cut is circular in depth and smooth on the bottom with a 140 or 160mm diameter curvature, then it was a disc. If it is a flat-ish bottomed but smooth cut, it could be an aerospoke or a disc if it moved through the length of a cut (like a meat slicer blade). If it’s thicker and ragged, then probably a chainring.

  • harry

    I’m not convinced either.