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Astana leads protest against radio ban

May 13, 2009
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Mar 18, 2009
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Two examples of why Astana wants the radio ban overturned:

1. Armstrong getting Bruyneel to call Ferrari to see if Pantani could hold his power in the 2000 TdF when making an early break. Ferrari said he couldn't, Lance did not counterattack, and Pantani blew.

2. Levi had no idea what to do in the 2009 Tour of California when rain and bad weather knocked out race radios. Mancebo made a break and Levi complained that the lack of race radios made racing difficult because they didn't know where the break was.

I have the utmost respect for Voigt, but his comparison of the radio ban to not wearing helmets or cutting brake cables is just absurd. Radios may be a safety issue, but there are still plenty of crashes with race radios. There are police prominently placed at all the traffic obstacles. And riders in the peloton communicate up coming obstacles to each other. The safety issue is overstated, and IMO most DSs are concerned about losing control, especially those on sprint teams.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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elapid said:
I have the utmost respect for Voigt, but his comparison of the radio ban to not wearing helmets or cutting brake cables is just absurd. Radios may be a safety issue, but there are still plenty of crashes with race radios. There are police prominently placed at all the traffic obstacles. And riders in the peloton communicate up coming obstacles to each other. The safety issue is overstated, and IMO most DSs are concerned about losing control, especially those on sprint teams.

If safety is the real issue, there should be a safety radio where a central broadcaster (ie. not team-specific) broadcasts all potential safety issues to all of the riders in the race. That way the riders can have their safety while tactics can be left to the riders.
 
Jul 7, 2009
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This cracks me up. It just shows the difference between the organizers/fans, who want an exciting race (even if we want our favourites to win) and the team management, who want to win (even if it is a bit boring to watch). I think banning the radios could lead to a lot more interesting racing than some of the contentious course routes you sometimes see.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Just watching the TdF: Columbia-HTC acting DS has just radioed his riders to chase the leaders so there can be a bunch sprint. Without radios, why would the main peloton want a bunch sprint on a mountain stage, especially as the sprinters are still climbing the Col du Tourmalet? I am quite certain that the riders would not be chasing the breakaway if it weren't for the DS calling the shots by radio from a car outfitted with radio and TV coverage. Must be a safety issue!
 
The safety issue is a red herring and a bunch of nonsense by a bunch of crybabies. To paraphrase Berhard Hinault "I want my gameboy so my gigolo can tell me how to think!" Or for the DS's their mindset is that they're too old to race and didn't get to win when young, but here they can control the race and share in the glory. It has nothing to do with safety.

I still like what Hinault said when he raced. They'd meet each morning and Guimard would sit down with the map, and they'd discuss the route, and wind direction. From there, it was racing. I know a lot of people don't like Hinault. But he was a great champion and one of the most bold, and exciting racers ever. And a great tactician. He could read the road, and read the other riders, and knew when to attack (anywhere on the course, anywhere, not just the last 3km) and break the race apart.

Furthermore, right from the CN article, proving that the safety complaint is pure whining:

Marchadier clarified the riders could still use their race radios, but only receive the race channel, which provides safety information.

Marchandier is right. This is how it should be on every stage, and definitely the TT's.
 
Voigt was quoted (on versus by Paul) as saying

"maybe they should ban helmets too that would make it more 'interesting' "

so he is obviously not very impressed with the ban. Myself I think it's a valid experiment. And the risks are overstated IMHO - but don't tell Jens he might come after me ;)
 
The odd thing is, Jens is often a breakaway expert. You'd think Stage 10 would be a great chance for him to take off some 100km from the finish, get out of sight and out of mind, and stay away when the others don't know just how far ahead he is.

I don't think race radio is going to have THAT much of an impact though. This isn't 1982 with Hinault attacking on every col, knowing they'll have no idea where he is except when the moto shows up every 20 minutes or so with the chalk board with an estimated gap. I'm pretty sure TVs have been banned in the cars due to French law of some sort, but I believe cell phones are still allowed, and the teams cars will still get info fairly constantly, and still be able to relay that to riders.
 
Apr 11, 2009
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Would think lack of radios is prob. the single most effective way of breaking up the Astana procession--and the sprinters' teams. I would be willing to sacrifice the latter (a pity, though) in order to see the overall become more competitive.

Requires riders to think more on the road and potentially rewards more of the lesser lights who take the initiative. A plus on both counts.
 
These 14 teams are saying they will turn up with radios and pay any fines, so I say hit them with a hefty time penalty.
We've just had three days on the trot,(5 in total) when radios have utterly dictated the tactics and coupled with the ridiculous parcours, produced a borefest par excellence.
I'm fed up of falling asleep, mid stage.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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180mmCrank said:
Voigt was quoted (on versus by Paul) as saying

"maybe they should ban helmets too that would make it more 'interesting' "

Alpe d'Huez said:
The odd thing is, Jens is often a breakaway expert. You'd think Stage 10 would be a great chance for him to take off some 100km from the finish, get out of sight and out of mind, and stay away when the others don't know just how far ahead he is.

I wondered whether Jens' quote was taken out of context. Maybe he was being sarcastic and Paul didn't pick up on it, as I believe he also said something along the lines of "maybe our brake cables should be cut for a stage" as well.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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elapid said:
Just watching the TdF: Columbia-HTC acting DS has just radioed his riders to chase the leaders so there can be a bunch sprint. Without radios, why would the main peloton want a bunch sprint on a mountain stage, especially as the sprinters are still climbing the Col du Tourmalet? I am quite certain that the riders would not be chasing the breakaway if it weren't for the DS calling the shots by radio from a car outfitted with radio and TV coverage. Must be a safety issue!

None of the team cars have tv this year, removed out of 'safety' considerations.

The main initiative for a sprint (the very idea of a sprint finish should be laughable after the Aspin and Tourmalet!) quite reasonably came from Rabo, who had the odds on fastest man left in Freire. How they then went about making sure that the escapees weren't caught in time kind of aptly demonstrates the fortunes of this Rabo team.:(

There is another alternative, as I heard suggested by Maarten Ducrot on Dutch tv - one rider per team has a radio, he's responsible for spreading the word to the others. I could see 'safety' issues with this too, though.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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The radios ensure info on attacking riders. The only way anybody can beat Astana is with an early attack "Landis style." Thats what Evans wanted to do the other day. With no radios, they have no idea whats going on up ahead.
 
As I said before, safety issues is a non-point, so even the team leader doesn't need a radio. Riders can still use the radios and listen to the race channel that provides safety info. Just not the splits, or talks with team cars.

Mellow Velo said:
These 14 teams are saying they will turn up with radios and pay any fines, so I say hit them with a hefty time penalty.

That would be the proper thing to do. Like, 5 minutes per rider. Let's see if the ASO has the guts to do it.

Agree with everything else you wrote.

BigBoat is right. But no one can try a Landis like attack because with radios everyone will always know the gaps and be able to time counter attacks to insure the breakaway rider is caught before, or near the line. The reason why Floyd's worked was because first he fooled everyone into thinking it was pure suicide he knew he'd get caught going from that far out on so hard of a stage, which meant when he attacked, he knew they wouldn't chase right away, when in reality he had a real plan and went for it with everything he had. Second, when it came time for the others to chase, they could be seen bickering. Kloden, Rasmussen, Sastre, the Schlecks, none of them wanted to work with Pereiro, or each other, until it was too late. And when they finally did chase, they didn't work together very well. The odds of that happening again are close to zero. Without radios, riders will either have to chase down every attack, or let someone go and try to gauge how they're doing, and when to counter. It requires learning other riders, learning the course, and being able to judge both your own and your opponents ability, skills and stamina, all on your own, while racing.
 
Jun 28, 2009
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Obviously we don't see much, but on the Versus coverage they flip to Garmin's or Columbia's car and what Brian Holm or Matt White say to the riders is lame anyway: "there is a climb coming and it..uh...goes up hill for 3KM and then turns and then goes up some more..." duh.
 
Apr 11, 2009
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BigBoat said:
The radios ensure info on attacking riders. The only way anybody can beat Astana is with an early attack "Landis style." Thats what Evans wanted to do the other day. With no radios, they have no idea whats going on up ahead.

+1 Agree.

The DS's of Silence (aptly named), Garmin, Rabo etc. should be discussing NOW what they want to do on those days. They should make it hell, and attack sequentially round any blind corner, whatever (per Alpe d'Huez, time to study the road/topog maps very, very carefully, like the other day when the peleton turned into the wind at a key corner). Break the whole thing up.

One thing is for sure: following the current Astana procession they will lose (and esp. on Ventoux). :rolleyes:The two days without radios is their single biggest opportunity. Evans was right the other day to try something despite being widely panned; the low odds are the only thing he has to play with. Follow the current course and he will lose 99/100 times. It's like some set-piece game at a circus. He/they should try again on these days.

The problem with CSC/Voight etc. is that I think they are too "Germanic" (used non-pejoratively). They want a plan and want to follow the plan. Too meticulous (everything is all about control, Riis's character, etc.).