The ear piece should be banned from pro and top ranked amateur cycling

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May 15, 2010
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I've been against race radios mainly because of incidents like the irritatingly obvious tactical use of it in the 2010 Paris-Roubaix. Riis looked at his screen, saw Boonen and Hushovd stuffing their faces at the back of the group, and ordered Fabian to go. That's not racing, sorry.

But Vaughters has some very good points in his blog entry at Cyclingnews. I do not support a ban (and helmets are for smart people).
 
Aug 10, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
I too am sick of watching pelotons catch riders 500m from the finish line, and watching a peloton ride over 4 cols for five hours only to wait until the last 2km to attack each other.

I think a bigger issue is time splits, and two-way radio. If radios worked where riders could contact the team ("need water", "flat!") or receive only serious road hazards from race directors, then maybe. But where they have an analytical conversation with the DS in the car who knows where every person is on the road, in every break, with exact time splits, and crunches numbers on everyone's wattage and HRM, it's just absurd.

I would even make the argument that team cars could be eliminated during certain sections of the road, and only replaced by neutral service vehicles. P-R does this now with some of the Pavé sections, it would be the same on some road courses.

There's nothing that wrong about leaving some of the racing up to chance and luck. And I don't see it making that huge of a difference.
you could keep radios. The UCI could just ban the commissaires on radio tour from relaying any information about breakaways and gap information to the team directors.

This way teams would still have internal communication to co-ordinate service. But no information about gaps, break compositions etc.
 
Jun 23, 2010
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shouldawouldacoulda said:
because they are effective at co-ordinating service in the caravan. Have you ever been in a pro race and seen first hand how they are actually used?
Cycling
Given Distance.
Riders ride.
Race starts.
Moves go.
Info passed via chaulk board.
Teams interpet info.
Riders ride accordingly.

Guy watching on a TV in team car should have no input whatsoever with the true nature of the race. Racing is no harder now than the 50's, 60's or 70's. When things like radio's take the true nature of racing away then it must be stopped. Saying coordinating the service caravan is only a faux pax to hide the real reason radios are used. Like in all sports there is rules and regulations. If they are obeyed then safety will be much enhanced. If riders choose not to follow the rules along with the caravan drivers then they need to be fined or banned. Radio's take away the oringinal epic nature of racing.
 
Aug 10, 2009
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boardhanger said:
Cycling
Given Distance.
Riders ride.
Race starts.
Moves go.
Info passed via chaulk board.
Teams interpet info.
Riders ride accordingly.

Guy watching on a TV in team car should have no input whatsoever with the true nature of the race. Racing is no harder now than the 50's, 60's or 70's. When things like radio's take the true nature of racing away then it must be stopped. Saying coordinating the service caravan is only a faux pax to hide the real reason radios are used. Like in all sports there is rules and regulations. If they are obeyed then safety will be much enhanced. If riders choose not to follow the rules along with the caravan drivers then they need to be fined or banned. Radio's take away the oringinal epic nature of racing.
ban power meters and power based training -its done more to ruin racing than radios.

You didn't answer my question. Have you ever been in a professional race, as either a rider or in a team car and seen how the radios are used?
 
Jun 23, 2010
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shouldawouldacoulda said:
ban power meters and power based training -its done more to ruin racing than radios.

You didn't answer my question. Have you ever been in a professional race, as either a rider or in a team car and seen how the radios are used?
No, I raced amature. Your point? Professional cycling is about making money through corporate advertisement, via TV. And as a lifelong cycling viewer i've begun to turn off races because they have become boring and predictable during the current high-tec 'director sportive' controlled, radio era. And i'm not the only one.
 
Aug 10, 2009
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boardhanger said:
No, I raced amature. Your point? Professional cycling is about making money through corporate advertisement, via TV. And as a lifelong cycling viewer i've begun to turn off races because they have become boring and predictable during the current high-tec 'director sportive' controlled, radio era. And i'm not the only one.
I raced as a professional (a bad one) and now work as a director. I've directed hundreds of races with and without radios. I can assure you from my perspective the sentiments you express about the earpiece's impact on creating 'boring' racing is over-stated.

Or perhaps not. Its true they've enhanced communication inside teams and helped create this 'modern' style of racing where teams are more co-ordinated and cohesive.

But we have also seen tremendous improvements in training and understanding of physiology since 1980. The peloton has become more global, the ability differences amongst riders more narrow. And rider's understanding of pacing has improved remarkably in the past 15 years.

If you take away radios it isn't fundamentally going to change the style. This style of racing is now entrenched in the teams. Leaders in today's teams now 'KNOW' more than ever that their key domestiques are almost as good as them. This creates a powerful desire for them to keep as many players together as long into the game as possible. Removing radios isn't going to change this. Removing radios isn't going to change the modern bike racers improved knowledge of 'pacing' and 'capability'.

I'm not going to disagree that some riders are treated like 'robots' by directors. It is true. But honestly that is a sign of an 'immature' director. Michael Barry has been a critic of the radio, but he wrote a blog after the Canadian ProTour races where he modified his position and articulated really clearly how the radios should be used.

As a director I know:

1) Often in the car am in a poor position to make a good call. I rely on the road captain to do this

2) Information on radio tour is often inaccurate. Yes, it gets relayed, often without direction - I rely on the riders to make the best judgement on how to use that information. I cannot tell you the number of times I've had info I've relayed corrected. Collectively we 'the team' find this info invaluable. We get info from two perspectives, munge it, then make calls http://michaelbarry.ca/2010/09/two-perspectives/

3) a robot is useless to me. I don't want a rider to be a robot. I NEED competent savvy riders who can race extremely well on their own merits. We do alot of work on this inside the teams amongst the sr. riders (road captains) and directors to teach the young riders the 'game' of bike racing. Racing is still very much a collaborative effort between riders and directors. Radios are just a tool to enhance communication inside the race. There is still a lot of traditional stuff at play - team meetings, camps and what not where the legacy 'art' of bike racing is developed.

You are and arrogant and stupid director if you expect your riders to be robots. If you don't have savvy smart riders you have a weak team. And you will not win as many races. I challenge you to find any director anywhere who would disagree with this.

You are an arrogant and stupid director if you don't realize that your own sensibilities about racing degrade the longer you are out of racing yourself. You remember and continually reference your own 'sensations' from racing. But your key riders will always have better sensations - they are still active riders, its their job to have these skills tuned to perfection. Our job as directors is to use that and channel it to the younger or lesser experienced players - so they develop acute sensibilities of their own.

I would take a team filled with Phillipe Gilbert's over a team of robots any day. TBH I would prefer a bunch of Andreas Kliers tho.

You have to remember we are not always there. Not all races have two cars, TV coverage etc. We get stuck in traffic and become information blind a lot at strategically critical moments. We have to trust our riders to make good judgment calls on their own - this hasn't changed.

Often you may have a player in a break - you may not ultimately expect this move to succeed, but if it has a 20-30% chance of success you need to trust that rider is competent to win. If you have a robot how can you trust that? Also these guys are often playing for other classifications: aggressivity, sprint pts, climbing pts. They have to know how to ride for these classifications on their own.

I suggest you watch the Cervelo Test Team bar tape video series to see how teams actually work. The road captains often make more strategy calls than the director. The director participates like anyone. But the riders are often in a better position to frame the strategy. The director's job is to keep the riders to the commitments they've made. Help them analyze etc. Its still very collaborative.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtoex0LOHso&feature=player_embedded#at=37

http://www.youtube.com/user/CerveloTestTeam#p/u/17/yYy39V_79cU

4) They make racing safer. We have heard over and over that the radios create confusion and danger at the front of the race. This is true. But the radios have had an amazing impact on reducing danger and chaos in the caravan. You have to appreciate that there is a remarkable amount of work in a pro bike race that goes on in the caravan. The radios simply lower anxiety, and dramatically improve the flow of this work.

I can also tell you a number of stories where having poor information about potentially dangerous road obstacles has caused serious injury to riders. Would radios and better info have prevented this -YES. So this situation goes both ways.
 
Jun 23, 2010
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Thanks for the understanding. And yes cycling has evolved at a high rate. Is it going down the Formula One racing car road?? Over scienced and technologicalized. Is the true form of man-distance-course-time instinct forever gone?? With data-watts-hrt replacing the true fundalmentals that attracted us in the first place?? Even the UCI has reconized the effect radios are having, hence those radio free days during LeTour. It's an argument with pro's and cons for both sides. But cycling won't survive IMO if it continues to go down this futuristic route.
 
Aug 10, 2009
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boardhanger said:
Thanks for the understanding. And yes cycling has evolved at a high rate. Is it going down the Formula One racing car road?? Over scienced and technologicalized. Is the true form of man-distance-course-time instinct forever gone?? With data-watts-hrt replacing the true fundalmentals that attracted us in the first place?? Even the UCI has reconized the effect radios are having, hence those radio free days during LeTour. It's an argument with pro's and cons for both sides. But cycling won't survive IMO if it continues to go down this futuristic route.
Again, on the science front I think you may misunderstand its importance inside the teams. Don't get me wrong, its important. But the teams that rely on science and science alone as the be all and end all are not successful.

The craft of bike racing is still the most important part of the game. I have not seen science changing this. But you are right science is playing a bigger role.

Science is used by the industry as much for marketing as for sport performance benefits. Maybe I shouldn't say that, but there you go its true.

Sky is probably the best example of getting the balance between art & science wrong. Reading between the lines of the stuff we saw in the media this fall they realized they had far too clinical an approach. This year they will use a more balanced approach with a heavier reliance on 'craft' that the riders and sport directors will bring--collaboratively to the mix.

The next big evolution in the sport of cycling will be sport psychology. In 1-2 yrs we will start to see this shift away from engineering/physiology/science. It won't go away entirely, never will, its still a critical component. But we'll see the emergence of psychology.
 
Jun 23, 2010
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shouldawouldacoulda said:
The next big evolution in the sport of cycling will be sport psychology. In 1-2 yrs we will start to see this shift away from engineering/physiology/science. It won't go away entirely, never will, its still a critical component. But we'll see the emergence of psychology.
I like the sound of mind games once again in cycling, spicing up the race's. I know the riders hate "stab in the back" racing, but ya gotta addmit it makes for great racing!! :D
 
Dec 30, 2010
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When did riders first start using the ear pieces ?

Everyone has written great responses to the pros and cons of the riders wearing earpieces .
I have a question , that might move the research along a bit as to the actual issue of how much a race can change with or without the earpieces .
The question is ; When did the riders first start using the Ear piece? In other words if anyone has more detailed information what approximate time did these devices start popping up on teams in the tours and on other classic races . I am not talking about the two way communication of DS to mechanic or other ground personal or media etc . But the actual involvement of the riders and the communication between the rider and coach . :cool:
 
I've been listening to both sides of this argument for the last couple of years but I don't have a terribly strong feeling one way or the other.

Well, I guess I do lean in favor of keeping radios because I haven't yet been convinced the racing would be better without them and I worry about a big race being decided due to a flat. Sure, it sometimes happens even with radio but I fear it would happen more frequently.

That said, if they gave it a lengthy trial run and the racing was clearly better, I'd be for it.
 
Jul 14, 2009
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From a story earlier today here.

While the statement reiterates old concerns that any such ban would lead to a reduction of safety in the race caravan and decrease team managers’ ability to warn their riders of upcoming dangers and conditions, the AIGCP also argue that the use of radios ultimately leads to worthier race winners.

“When intelligent riders have more information, they are able to make better tactical decisions,” the statement reads. “A team can execute more precisely when information is available and communication is good. Both the more intelligent rider and the more intelligent team are the benefactors of greater information flow.

So much for betting on races, the fix is in.
 
woodie said:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/aigcp-rejects-uci-radio-ban

It'll be interesting to see how the UCI reacts if the teams just ignore the ban. I mean if every team in the race ignores the ban and uses the radios what can they do beside fine them?

It'll be interesting to see anyway.
I guess they might be able to disqualify them but I guess that might be more up to the race organizers. And if enough teams still use them it would just create a mockery of the competition if they disqualifies half the field.
 
May 27, 2010
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ingsve said:
I guess they might be able to disqualify them but I guess that might be more up to the race organizers. And if enough teams still use them it would just create a mockery of the competition if they disqualifies half the field.
Thats it isn't it? I mean if 18 out of the 20 teams are DQ'd then it would be pointless
 

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