The Radio Debate Redux

Aug 3, 2009
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I've seen several reports now of riders "blaming" several crashes on guys trying to talk into radios in the peloton, taking hands off bars, losing concentration, etc. Now Voekler weighs in on the subject:

Voeckler blames radio earpieces for Metz crash

Funny how that has been one of the arguments used outside the peloton in support of a radio ban, but the riders have always said the radios improve rider safety.
 
Jun 12, 2012
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I literally just posted a similar thought to what TV said in that interview on the 'worst crash' post.

Move up move up. Ahh there's no room. Quel suprise.

I'd suggest banning team radio but keeping radio for neutral safety announcements. Leave the teams to decide to start chasing the breakaways rather than be told. Hopefully that will avoid them trying to move up en mass and string the peleton out more.
 
Aug 3, 2009
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Yeah, it's not just a matter of 22 DS's telling 198 guys to all go to the front at the same time, but also guys taking hands off bars to grab their jersey and pinch the mic button, then talking down into their jersey rather than watching the wheels.

What could possibly go wrong, riding at 60k an hour, centimeters from the guy next to you, with one hand off the bars and your face in your jersey?
 
Aug 13, 2009
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MacRoadie said:
I've seen several reports now of riders "blaming" several crashes on guys trying to talk into radios in the peloton, taking hands off bars, losing concentration, etc. Now Voekler weighs in on the subject:

Voeckler blames radio earpieces for Metz crash

Funny how that has been one of the arguments used outside the peloton in support of a radio ban, but the riders have always said the radios improve rider safety.
Not my fault Voelker is a fred
 
Jun 18, 2012
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I think that part of the problem is that the majority of the peleton today have never raced, in a significant way, without radios. These guys aren't really thinking for themselves and reading the race. So when 22 DSs are telling their guys to move up, they all do it without question.

With radios now banned in lower-rated races, maybe these guys will learn how to read the situation on the road. But there's still going to be an issue with guys being intimidated in a world tour race and blindly doing what some voice in their ear tells them.

I'd like to see radios banned, but I don't expect it any time soon.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Viking said:
I think that part of the problem is that the majority of the peleton today have never raced, in a significant way, without radios. These guys aren't really thinking for themselves and reading the race. So when 22 DSs are telling their guys to move up, they all do it without question.

With radios now banned in lower-rated races, maybe these guys will learn how to read the situation on the road. But there's still going to be an issue with guys being intimidated in a world tour race and blindly doing what some voice in their ear tells them.

I'd like to see radios banned, but I don't expect it any time soon.
The French riders have been riding without radios for years. French cup races have been radio free for a while
 
MacRoadie said:
What could possibly go wrong, riding at 60k an hour, centimeters from the guy next to you, with one hand off the bars and your face in your jersey?
Exactly. The team driver will be banned from using a mobile while driving, but his colleague on the bike is allowed to do that.

I'm still fizzing about the behaviour of the peloton on the stage where the TdF introduced a "voluntary" ban. Call me a cynic but I think the argument against a ban has absolutely zero to do with safety and everything to do with egotistical, control freak DSs who want their piece of the limelight. Remove team inputs into radios and the DSs become largely irrelevant during the actual stage. Radios are also a way for the more powerful teams (e.g. teams with a top sprinter or GC contender) to exert control over a race. So it's no surprise the big boys like them.

Looking at the TdF alone in the past two years it has lost major contenders due to crashes where some have subsequently blamed the use of radios. It hurts the contest to lose big names as legit contenders so early and surely that can't make sponsors happy?

Has anyone got feedback on watching races where the radios have been removed in terms of safety/entertainment/unpredictability?

Also can anyone make a counterargument to this?

The trouble is, the peloton has chosen a particularly stupid agenda to base their play for power on. The issue, they say, has nothing to do with tactics or strategy when communications between rider and DS. They cite safety as their rallying call in keeping the radios. They are essential should there be a crash so that the DS can get to the stricken rider as soon as possible.

The obvious rebuttal to this spurious argument is that it is not the DS that should be contacted in an emergency. It should be the doctor assigned to follow the tour. Directeurs Sportif are not the right people to treat medical emergencies. They should never, in fact, be making decisions as to whether a rider is capable of continuing in a race. As is the case in every other walk of life; we acquiesce to the experience of trained medical professionals when someone’s life may be in danger.
 
Seems a bit insulting to suggest pro bike riders aren't capable of talking into a radio and riding at the same time. Surely there are plenty of things they do with one or zero hands on the bars including eating, drinking, dressing, undressing...
 
Aug 3, 2009
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Eyeballs Out said:
Seems a bit insulting to suggest pro bike riders aren't capable of talking into a radio and riding at the same time. Surely there are plenty of things they do with one or zero hands on the bars including eating, drinking, dressing, undressing...
Which is why any pro will tell you the most dangerous place in a race is the feeed zone...

Is the pro peloton comprised of riders with handling skills above those of the casual rider or average club racer? For the most part yes. However, to suggest that inattentiveness and poor judgement/skills don't play some part, especially in the face of so many open road crashes on straight, dry, even, pavement, would be wrong.

They make mistakes, they overlap wheels, and they lose attention, just like everyone else does.

And they crash.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Eyeballs Out said:
Seems a bit insulting to suggest pro bike riders aren't capable of talking into a radio and riding at the same time. Surely there are plenty of things they do with one or zero hands on the bars including eating, drinking, dressing, undressing...
I think the argument is only partly about bike handling or talking and riding ... It's more about the pressure put on riders to take certain positions by a DS from a team car. They are all being told to be in the same spot at the same time!

T
 
Jun 19, 2009
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MacRoadie said:
Which is why any pro will tell you the most dangerous place in a race is the feeed zone...

Is the pro peloton comprised of riders with handling skills above those of the casual rider or average club racer? For the most part yes. However, to suggest that inattentiveness and poor judgement/skills don't play some part, especially in the face of so many open road crashes on straight, dry, even, pavement, would be wrong.

They make mistakes, they overlap wheels, and they lose attention, just like everyone else does.

And they crash.
Some of the strongest racers I've had as teammates were the worst bike handlers. Not because of their strength alone but because of their lack of exposure to close quarters. It's one thing to have the ability to move in the field and another thing to know when your DS is full of sh-t. Radios don't help the stupid.
 
MacRoadie said:
Which is why any pro will tell you the most dangerous place in a race is the feeed zone...

Is the pro peloton comprised of riders with handling skills above those of the casual rider or average club racer? For the most part yes. However, to suggest that inattentiveness and poor judgement/skills don't play some part, especially in the face of so many open road crashes on straight, dry, even, pavement, would be wrong.

They make mistakes, they overlap wheels, and they lose attention, just like everyone else does.

And they crash.
I guess my point is they take bigger risks doing the most mundane things every day than they do talking into a radio. The big crash on friday was apparently caused by a rider taking a teammate's shoe covers from him but I guess we're not banning shoe covers

There are better reasons for banning radios than this (you could improve the technology to make them easier to use if it was really a concern). Equally there are a few good reasons not to
 
Jun 18, 2012
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180mmCrank said:
I think the argument is only partly about bike handling or talking and riding ... It's more about the pressure put on riders to take certain positions by a DS from a team car. They are all being told to be in the same spot at the same time!

T
Yes, exactly! And because these riders don't know any better (they haven't raced without the DSes in their ears), they do whatever they're told. I actually do think that most of these racers are boneheads. I don't blame them, really, because they've (mostly) been brought up in a system that treats them as pawns of the DS.

I really don't mean to be contemptuous of the riders. I do mean to be contemptuous of the DSes who seem to want full control of every rider on their team, despite the chaotic elements on the road.
 
Jun 22, 2012
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Maybe they could trial next year a more limited use of team radios, say each DS can only use the radio to issue 2 or 3 sets of instructions per stage. If they give more than that, the DS is banned from using the radio on the next stage.

This would allow DS to give instructions to the team, but only when absolutely neccessary. It would also make it very unlikely that all of the DS would be issuing the same instruction to their teams (ie move forward) at the same time, since different teams have different priorities - some are trying to get guys into the break, some are trying to pull back breaks, some are setting up for intermediate sprints, or setting up for final sprints etc. Different teams would therefore likely be communicating with their riders at different times during a stage, rather than the situation now where they seem to be communicating with the riders constantly.

In addition to being able to use the radio 2 or 3 times per day to issue instructions, DS / Race radio could use the radio to issue as many safety warnings as neccessary.

Just a thought...
 

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