The UCI has enforced the first race radio ban of this year’s Tour de France, set for today’s stage from Limoges to Issoudun although rumours are circulating that the ban may not be enforced on Friday’s stage as well.
The race radio ban was met with indignation from the team managers; led by Astana team manager, Johan Bruyneel, 14 of the 20 Tour teams are believed to have signed a petition in support of the use of radios.
However, the UCI has remained steadfast in supporting ASO’s decision to ban radios from the race, meaning that they will be prohibited today (stage 10).
However, rumours circulating around the start village in Limoges appear to suggest that the ban will not be enforced on Friday’s stage, the second of two stages in which radios were to be prohibited.
The team managers also appear to have accepted the decision; according to Garmin team manager, Jonathan Vaughters, there will be no protest or strike action from the teams as had been previously speculated.
Vaughters had not strong opinion either way on the matter, but stressed that whilst there would be no protest, ultimately it is up to the teams to decide how they race today’s stage.
In his typically direct style, Garmin rider Bradley Wiggins said that he “couldn’t care less” about the radio ban and would “go out and ride my bike and see what happens”.
Many people expect today’s stage to be more unpredictable, but Columbia directeur sportif, Brian Holm, thinks the opposite. Holm suggested that the racing would not be more exciting, the peloton would be too wary of a break gaining anything more than four minutes, and if anything, the racing would be more predictable.
Holm stressed that his riders would race normally and would benefit, as ever, on the road from vastly experienced riders like George Hincapie. However, he also highlighted the safety issues involved with radio ban, for if there is a crash then every team car will be hurrying to see if their rider is involved.
Others, however, suggested that it was simply a ploy by the race organisers to engineer a French stage win on Bastille Day.
The debate over race radios continues, but it will be the racing that takes centre stage now and the battle for the yellow jersey is far from over.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 LINKS
Tour de France 2009 – the hub: Index to reports, photos, previews and more.
Stage nine: Third French win as contenders content with ceasefire
stage eight: Sanchez wins from break as Tour favourites cancel each other out
Stage seven: Feillu wins at Arcalis, Nocentini takes yellow, Contador leap-frogs Lance
Stage six: Millar’s brave bid denied on Barcelona hill as Hushovd triumphs
Stage five: Voeckler survives chase to win his first Tour stage
Stage four: Astana on top but Armstrong misses yellow by hundredths of a second
Live Tour de France stage four TTT coverage
Stage three: Cavendish wins second stage as Armstrong distances Contador
Stage two: Cavendish takes first sprint
Stage one: Cancellara wins opening time trial
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Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
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