Tour Riders Protests - I say it is Nonsense!
Tour de France stage 10 has ended and the fact that there was no radio contact from the sport director in the car to the riders made them race very slow almost the whole day. The riders argument for this demonstration was that it would be dangerous to race without a radio connection to the sports director car. I say it is nonsense.
Millions of races around the world are managed in completely fair and equitable manner without radios in the past and it is also happening today in the U23 race and within the amateurs. Cyclists have learned to go round a roundabout, avoid obstructions and sharp turns in a race. It is clear nonsens when I hear the radio should stay because it would be dangerous without it.
Before a rider becomes Proffessionel the rider has raced many years without any commands from the sports director in the car.
In the past riders took notes on a small piece of paper which they put in their back pocket. The memoranda were written down from the Tour Guide distributed to all persons and riders in all professional races. This I know from the many races I have race both as amateur and as part of the National Cycling Team. The book states all the rules and map of the start and goal cities and a description of places the riders must pay particular attention.
Nowadays, riders get this knowledge through the radio and this is actualy fine by me if the communication could be limited to this. The problem is that the radio also naturally are used to provide riders with tactical messages from the car, which kill the individual riders initiative and test of Team cooperation. All groups that the peloton is divided into during a race will be notified via signs on motorcycles or cars saying how much time there is between the groups so the radio is not obliged to tell about this.
A real good example of a situation that would have been settled markedly different is from the Tour de France stage 3. Team Columbia had the peloton splitted up into two grolubs and only Lance Armstrong of the favorites were in the front group. Sports direktors had total overview in less than a minute via a television screen in the car. I am sure that the outcome of that stage would be different without radios as the riders really would be in panic in a situation like this.
Imagine the peloton with 60 km/h and each rider and team must find out themselves what to do. Is the captain in front or in the main bunch or maybe he is behind? I am 100% sure that Armstrong was in yellow after stage 3 if there were no radio communications from the car to the riders.
Many pro riders cry because they are not allowed to listen to the aggressive sports direktor in the ear for a whole day .... I wonder why? Even Tom Boonen agree to my assessment and I give Bjarne Riis (Saxo Bank) right that when all have agreed to race without radios for two stages, then the peloton could at least race without agreements between the teams to race realy slow as a demonstration on stage 10. This was a disgrace to the Tour de France and was an act of disrespect. Now race stage 13 without any radio with full power so we can see some exiting race please!
I have no faith in radio contact between the sports director and riders will be removed in the future but I think the entertainment value of professional cycling would increase without radio contact.