19 Apr 2011

Cycling teams walk out of radio ban debate

6:29 am on 19 April 2011

Team representatives walked out of a meeting with the International Cycling Union (UCI) and journalists on Tuesday as the row over a ban on team radios escalated.

Most of the International Association of Professional Cycling (AICGP) teams left the meeting in Brussels while the ban, which has attracted protests from top riders and teams, was being discussed.

The UCI had invited three journalists from the International Cycling Writers' Association (AIJC) to discuss the ban at the meeting after a poll showed that 60 percent of the body's members opposed the use of earpieces in all races.

As the journalists explained their point of view, team leaders including Radioshack manager Johan Bruyneel and Bjarne Riis (Saxo Bank-Sungard) left the room.

The UCI have banned the use of earpieces on all races except the World Tour (top tier) events after broadcasters complained they were being used to manipulate races.

The Professional Riders' Association (CPA) called off a strike at the last minute last month after the UCI promised to debate the ban.

An attempt by the AIGCP late on Monday to move the ban higher up the meeting's agenda was rebuffed by the UCI.