Friday, June 19, 2009

Tour de France: No race radio!

Wow. Two stages of the Tour de France will be run without race radio.

Parts of the 2009 Tour of California was plagued with technical difficulties reportedly due to the weather. Ineffective race radio made the race a lot more uncertain for the riders since team directors couldn't relay information to the riders, and those of us following the race had no clue what was going on.

It's a controversial decision by race organizers: The Tour de France wants to ban the race radios completely, but teams and riders say they depend on the radios for safety. Taking the radios away puts team leadership squarely back on the cyclists and benefits the those who can quarterback, think quickly and react to conditions on the ground.


What do you think?



  1. I think it'll be interesting to see two stages without race radio. I don't get race radio when I race!

  2. No school like the old school baby. I don't race, so maybe I'm being a little over harsh, but as you say, this could really force some riders to show what kind of mental / strategy chops they've got.

  3. If you want to go old school and ban race radios then you have to throw out carbon bikes, aerodynamic helmets and handlebars. Cycling is a sport with a rich history of adopting new technology.

  4. I am all for anything that takes more tech out and puts more emphasis on the athletes... no radios = good

  5. Great idea!! Now leaders will have to think on their "feet" about who's in a break, should I let them go?, can I catch them? Would love to see this ban in place permanently.

  6. Make the radios go away!

    BTW, my word verification is "epogain". Does that mean I'm doping?

  7. I heard radios increase the chances of steroids sound waves...

  8. ...great idea...finally something christian prudhomme et moi can agree on...hinault's statement regarding how he & cyrille guimard would get together & weigh all the various factors when planning a strategy before a stage sounds like an excellent idea...

    ...& were the "no radio" rule to be fully implemented, it would be interesting to see how long it would take before one team or another would ultimately try to cheat by using some form of micro-audio technology...perhaps tiny implants or something of that nature...

    ...@ joel pukkey, pal...(a) - using any one form of good technology does not imply the need for the use of other newer forms of technology...usage, like beauty, is in the eye of the user or event organizer...

    ...& (b) - while newer & "better" materials are embraced by cycling, it is a sport w/ a deep & rich history of being insular & close minded...if components, frames, even riding form don't fall w/in certain parameters or percentages thereof, they can be outlawed...

  9. ...actually there are two things christian prudhomme et moi can agree on...

    ...despite all of "quickstep's" background machinations, the aso (le tour organizers) are formidably standing tall in their insistence that young mr boonen's participation will not be allowed at this years race...

    ...i applaud...

  10. [Sorry to be late to the party.]

    Yes, please.
    I want to see the riders' tactics, not the soigniers'. As @bikesgonewild says, controlling one technology doesn't require controlling all. Plus, the others (carbon, aero equipment, ...) are a matter of degree. How oval does a helmet get before it's too far?

    Radios are a simple binary decision: yes, no. You can't have have just a little bit.

  11. @Terry: Your comment about radio as "either/or" brings up some humorous pictures in my mind :-) Maybe they can use radios but only if they're limited to old transistor radios from the 70s, or maybe even crystal sets with hand wound tuning coils.

  12. Well, it is like taking "calculators" away from today's children.
    They are so used to them and they would not function efficiently without them.

  13. the purpose of adopting technology is to maximise and enhance the raw performance of an athlete - lighter frames, more aero positions/bars/helmets etc. Race radios are associated with tactical play and control of the event, and inhibit raw performances such that most riders won't even attempt certain moves.
    Lets take our good mate Floyd and his 'epic' ride. Amazing effort, but couldn't have been done without cheating. Take away race radios and we'll see more opportunities like that taken by riders...hopefully legitimate though.