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Riders’ group threatens legal action over UCI’s road disc brake trials; WFSGI disputes rider's story

Published February 27, 2017
UPDATED: WFSGI says its unlikely recent incident was caused by a disc rotor.

ESTAVAYER-le-LAC, Switzerland (BRAIN) — The Professional Cyclists Association is threatening to take legal action against the UCI for resuming a disc brake trial in the pro peloton without responding to the racers' demands for disc rotor protectors and rounded edges on rotors. The threat comes following an incident in a race last week when a rider blamed a slice in his shoe on a disc brake rotor.

In a press release Monday, the CPA said it has sent "a legal warning" to the UCI, informing the organization that it was "very concerned about the situation."

"The trial has started – it is written - before that some appropriate test were conducted on the risks to which the riders are exposed in the event of accidental contact with the disks (for example during a group fall)," the CPA said.

"The CPA calls on the International Cycling Union to review their position on this point and to subordinate the possibility of using the disc brakes during the races to the application of a safety cover or to measures that can exclude an accidental contact of the discs to the body of the riders. Failing that the CPA will proceed with all the necessary legal actions to safeguard the health and safety of its members, to which, as workers, must be guaranteed the adoption of all the appropriate preventive measures required by the legislation on the safety at work (eg. EEC directive 89/391).

"With the Equipment Commission we tried in every way the path of dialogue through the repeated letters and meetings we had," said Gianni Bugno, the president of the CPA. "Now we feel compelled to act in a stronger way to be heard. As we have always said we are not against the disc brakes but against the non-implementation of the security measures that the majority of the riders asked before making the tests on the disc brakes in the races." 

The UCI has not publicly responded to the letter. 

At last week's Abu Dhabi Tour, one rider said a disc rotor cut through his shoe in a pileup. However, the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry, which has lobbied on behalf of the bike industry for the acceptance of disc brakes in the pro peloton, is dubious of the rider's claim.

The WFSGI has prepared a report on the accident that it distributed to the members of its bicycle committee. The report examined video footage of the crash and photos of the sliced shoe and concluded the slice was more likely caused by a fence. The WFSGI report also cited several recent articles by VeloNews.com, including a video where the magazine's editors attempted to cut a shoe with a spinning disc rotor. 

The WFSGI also noted that many pro riders got on social media to repeat the rider's claim about the incident. The group asked committee members, who are bike and component manufacturers, to talk to their sponsored riders. "(W)e kindly ask all of you again to talk to your teams and riders to brief them that these statements do not only harm the industry, but are counterproductive for any professional approach to the topic," the WFSGI's Yves Mori told commitee members in an email. Mori is manager of WFSGI communications and the bicycle committee. 

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