The use of the latest gadgetry in professional cycle races is crushing spontaneity and excitement according to some fans – and some riders too.
Is the use of electronic technology such as power meters and race radios crushing the life out of races? Or are aerodynamics making pro racing an arms race, won by the team with the biggest budget? Or is it simply a case of using the latest developments to enhance racing?
We recently asked Cycling Weekly readers whether they thought that modern technology was ruining bike races. Here are a selection of answers, brought to you in association with Decathlon.
Do you think that modern technology is ruining bike racing? Let us know in the comments section below.
No, cycling is evolving along with technology. If you argue for not using tech products in cycling, I would think that you would want cycling to revert back to what cycling was like when racing was first introduced.
The BIG power meter debate: ban them from Grand Tours. It’s killing the racing. We want to see racing, and not 198 cyclists riding according to what a power meter recommends. We want to see GC riders take risks and blow up on big climbs, attacks, counter attacks. We aren’t getting this any more, it’s become too clinical.
Bike gadgets should continue to evolve, as should bike design. However, the race between the riders needs to be just that. Too many support cars and oversize teams are leading to too many incidents. And if riders cry like spoilt babies because their puncture wasn’t fixed immediately by daddy or mummy, then they need to grow up.
One race radio per team, smaller team squads at the major tours, so that stronger teams can’t control the racing as well as they can now. Look how exciting the Olympic road race was (without the crashing, obviously).
I don’t think that it was a lack of radios that made the Olympic road race exciting, it was the team sizes… well and even then it was just as exciting as any of the monument one-day races. I assume that the UCI allowed radios back for all races this year as they have seen enough proof now to see that it doesn’t make much difference. Banning power meters won’t make much difference either. The riders train with them day in, day out, so they probably have a good feeling for what they can achieve, without looking at the actual numbers. It’s just that because they can, they do.
Use it all. Lift the minimum bike weight ban. It forces teams and riders to think outside the box and use technology to their advantage, which ultimately feeds down to us mortals.
Where do you draw the line? Electronic shifting? Carbon-fibre frames? Deep-section aero wheels? Skinsuits? To a certain extent you either allow it all or rule it out. With no innovation, you’d still get the same team(s) winning every race just for different reasons. All the teams have access to the kit, if one uses it more efficiently or effectively than another, why should they be punished?
Ban two things: bike weight limit (which was only placed back when folks were drilling holes in frames making them unsafe) and motorbikes in the peloton.
People moaning about technology. On their three-inch screens on a handheld device with more processing power than the original lunar missions.