Despite WorldTour, Pro Continental and Continental teams now being able to use disc brakes in UCI races, there has been only very limited use of the alternative braking technology in the early part of the season. In fact, after not a single team chose to use disc brakes at the Tour Down Under and Dubai Tour, only one is using them at the Tour of Qatar.
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Roompot-Oranje Peloton, the Dutch Pro Continental team that will only be using disc brakes during the 2016 season, is the only exception to the rule, with every other team opting for rim brakes.
However Dimension Data‘s Matt Brammeier was at least using some other interesting brake technology, using the Rotor Uno groupset complete with hydraulic rim brakes, even if his teammate and current race leader Mark Cavendish was sticking with traditional cable rim brakes having unsuccessfully experimented with SRAM hydraulic rim brakes at the 2013 Tour de France.
The lack of disc brakes at the Tour of Qatar could well be an indication of the trends we might see at the Spring Classics, with the five-stage Middle Eastern race traditionally being used to hone legs and equipment for use in northern European crosswinds. We’ll have to wait and see whether the rest of the peloton follow Fabian Cancellara’s lead and we see Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders contested without the aid of disc brakes.