Riders will be allowed to use earpiece radios for Friday’s 13th stage of the Tour de France, after the UCI over-turned its rule allowing the race organisers to ban the technology as part of a two-day experiment.
On Tuesday, riders were not able to communicate directly with their team cars and although there was no formal protest, there was obviously an agreed go-slow as they dawdled from Limoges to Issoudun.
Despite a tailwind, the average speed was only 40kph, one kilometre per hour slower than the slowest anticipated time schedule published by the organisers.
Riders and their teams had been disappointed that ASO and the UCI imposed the ban on technology which has become commonplace in recent years.
Citing concerns over safety, the riders objected to the ban, but also to the way it was implemented, without, they said, proper consultation or enough warning.
But instead of embarrassing the race with a sit-down protest or by stopping on the route as the peloton had in Milan during the Giro d’Italia, in protest at unsafe racing conditions, the bunch agreed to ride at a leisurely pace.
At one point each team put two riders on the front of the bunch, rolling through to share the pace-setting work, but it looked staged.
In the end, the pace did hot up and Mark Cavendish won the sprint.
But, as www.cyclingweekly.com first reported on Tuesday, it was widely anticipated that the experimental ban on radios would be dropped for Friday’s stage.
The UCI’s management committee decided to reinstate the radios to end the controversy, but said that the debate on appropriate use of the technology in cycling would continue.
Stage 11: Cavendish takes fourth win to equal Hoban’s record
Stage 10: Cavendish spoils Bastille Day party to take third stage win
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 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
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Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
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Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
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