Riders’ union the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA) has threatened the UCI with legal action over the trial of disc brakes in the latest episode of the ongoing dispute between the two organisations.
In a letter to the UCI, the CPA sets out its concerns that the cycling’s governing body has restarted its trial of disc brakes in professional racing “before appropriate tests were conducted on the risks to which the riders are exposed in the event of accidental contact with the discs (for example during a group fall)”.
According to the CPA, the UCI’s decision to restart the trial of disc brakes without the covers for brakes or the rounded rotors that the union suggested makes the UCI “inevitably responsible…for any damage or accident that should happen to the riders.”
The union goes on to call on the UCI to “review their position” and bring in “a safety cover or measures that can prevent an accidental contact of the discs to the body of the riders”.
If such measures are not brought in, the CPA says that it will pursue “all the necessary legal actions to safeguard the health and safety of its members, who, as workers, must be guaranteed the adoption of all the appropriate preventive measures required by the legislation on the safety at work.”
In support of this action, the CPA gives the example of EU Directive 89/391/EEC which guarantees workers to basic health and safety. However this directive only sets out the obligations of employers to their workers, meaning that it may not apply to the relationship between the UCI and riders as riders are employed by their teams rather than the UCI.
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CPA president Gianni Bugno said that his union was not against the introduction of disc brakes full stop, but that this needed to be done in a safe and proper manner.
“With the Equipment Commission we tried in every way the path of dialogue through the repeated letters and meetings we had,” Bugno said.
“Now we feel compelled to act in a stronger way to be heard. As we have always said we are not against the disc brakes but against the non-implementation of the security measures that the majority of the riders asked before making the tests on the disc brakes in the races. “
The CPA’s action comes only a few days after Team Sky rider Owain Doull claimed that a cut in his shoe at the Abu Dhabi Tour was caused by the disc brakes on the bike of Quick-Step Floors rider Marcel Kittel.
Video evidence appeared to cast doubt over whether the discs did indeed cause the damage to Doull’s shoe, but the incident still caused considerable debate within the pro peloton over the use of the new technology, with Kittel himself deciding not to use disc brakes for the rest of the race.
The new trial of disc brakes was restarted at the start of the 2017 season, after the initial 2016 trial was suspended when Movistar rider Fran Ventoso claimed that he had been injured by a disc brake rotor in a crash in Paris-Roubaix.
The UCI has been contacted for comment.