Manufacturers say that it's up to the teams and the UCI what equipment is used
Shimano and Campagnolo have seeked to distance themselves from the injury that Fran Ventoso sustained in Paris-Roubaix that he alleges was caused by disc brakes, while SRAM has called for a full investigation into the incident, saying that it is “aware of no evidence” that the injury was cause by a disc brake.
We asked Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM whether they had done any testing on the safety of their products, and whether it was a mistake for the UCI to trial the use of discs in professional road racing, a trial that it has now reportly suspended following the incident involving Ventoso.
Ventoso alleged that his injuries were caused by the disc rotor of a Direct-Energie rider, a team which was using Shimano disc brakes at Paris-Roubaix. However, Shimano has responded by distancing itself from the team and the incident, pointing out that Direct-Energie are not sponsored by Shimano, and it was entirely the team’s decision to use disc brakes.
Watch: what do pro riders really think of disc brakes?
“Shimano produces several brake systems for road bikes like caliper brakes but also disc brakes, and it’s the choice of the rider which brake system he or she prefers. Shimano does not push or oblige (sponsored) teams or riders to use a brake system. This is a free choice.
“Shimano is aware that two teams were using road disc brakes at Paris-Roubaix. These two teams (Lampre-Merida and Direct Energie) are not sponsored by Shimano, so obviously they made their choice independently.”
Campagnolo has only recently released its own disc brake system, and did not have any riders using it at Paris-Roubaix, but stressed that it puts all of its products through rigorous testing to ensure that they meet relavent safety standards.
“We aim to make components and wheels that represent a technological and performance advantage to our athletes while maintaining complete safety and durability. The approach that Campagnolo has taken thus far is a testament to just how seriously we take the issue of not only performance but also safety and product integrity.”
The Italian company also pointed out that it was the UCI that decided that disc brakes were appropriate for road racing, and that it is obliged to its sponsored teams to provide them with the equipment to help them compete with other teams using disc brakes from Shimano and SRAM.
“The decision to move forward with the production of disc brakes for road racing was taken some time ago. Campagnolo must provide componentry and wheels that enable its athletes to compete atop bikes built to the standards the UCI deems appropriate.”
SRAM has taken a different approach in its response to the incident, seeming to cast doubt on Ventoso’s claim that his injury was caused by a disc brake rotor.
“SRAM wishes Francisco Ventoso a speedy recovery. At this time, we are aware of no evidence that Francisco’s wound was caused by a disc. We look forward to further examination of the facts.”
The American company also said that while it respects the UCI’s decision to suspend the use of disc brakes in the professional peloton, it remains commited to the use of proliferation of discs as part of the long term future of the sport.
“Disc brakes are simply a better system of braking that provide more power, better modulation, and a safer environment due to their superior performance. We remain engaged with the UCI and [the sporting industry representative body] the WFSGI and will continue to participate in their process.”