As you know, the Critérium International 2011 took place this weekend, for the second time in the race's history on Corsica, around Porto-Vecchio in South-Corsica.
You might have noticed that in the final individual time trial, several teams used loudspeakers to provide information to their riders. Not the easiest way to do when you know that race radio's were allowed there. Is this due to some teams and directeurs sportifs ignoring the UCI rules?
The question what did you use to communicate with your riders during this time trial got a different reply from the teams I contacted ... a different, and sometimes surprising reply! Let's have a look at what 4 teams have to say about it.
France Télévisions, Laurent Jalabert: I didn't know it ...
Before we get to what the 4 teams had to say about it, let's quickly get back on what happened during this individual time trial which was won by Andreas Klöden (Team Radioshack) ahead of Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky). The last riders of this race against the clock was broadcasted on France 3 thanks to the contract which currently links ASO to France Télévisions.
As usual, this race was commented by Laurent Jalabert and Thierry Adam.
When they discovered that Fränk Schleck (who won the Critérium International 2011) had a race radio transmitter/receiver under his skinsuit (on his back), they came up with some questions because according to them the use of race radio was not allowed in this race. According to the two commentators this also explained the use of a loudspeaker which would substitute the race radio as it was forbidden.
Indeed, according to Laurent Jalabert the use of race radio's would simply be prohibited in all races except for the ProTour (to be precise it's actually except the world calendar or UCI WorldTour to be precise).
If you'd like to see this race on France 3, you can watch the video below.
As you might have understood by now (if you want to check it out once again, it's at 7'15" in the video above), I contacted Laurent Jalabert by SMS during the broadcast (he apologised for not having recognised me by name later on ... Laurent is not the first French guy to not recognise my name and since my name doesn't seem to be easy for French people I don't blame him on this ;-) in order to clarify this point on the radio ban for him.
Indeed, the UCI rules are clear on this: article 2.2.024 not only mentions an exception for races of the world calendar in 2011 (also for races of the world cup women) but also for all time trial races and that without any mention of applicable years. Unless indicated otherwise, Thierry Adam's mention of the total ban of radios by 2012 is not completely correct either: we'll still have them on time trials.
When I asked him whether the teams were aware of this exception on the radio ban, Jaja answered me I don't think so, I didn't know it ....
Indeed, this particular point of the UCI rules might be difficult to know but since it's about a question which currently dominates the world of cycling, one could have expected the teams to at least read the rules:
Let's have a look on what the teams have to say about this!
AG2R La Mondiale: there's never been any doubt about it!
The AG2R La Mondiale team is very clear when they got asked the question about how they communicated with their riders during this time trial. Its directeur sportif on the Critérium International 2011, Arturas Kasputis answers: race radio's. There's never been any doubt about that, on time trials we have the right to use them, so we use them.
Apparently the team from Chambéry clearly understood the rules and even if this hadn't been the case, a simple question to the UCI commissaires on this race would have allowed to find the right answer.
Saur-Sojasun: in an old-fashioned way
For Saur-Sojasun it looked like the question bothered them a bit but on the other hand the answer seemed to be perfectly adapted and prepared. Their leader in this Critérium International, Jérôme Coppel, has been encouraged by his directeur sportif Nicolas Guillé via a loudspeaker. Exit the race radio's for the Saur-Sojasun team in this time trial.
A spokesperson for the team says: we've done it in the old-fashioned way. We're used to do time trials like this and we know that more and more often we'll have to do without race radio's.
Did the directeur sportif really know that race radio's were allowed during this time trial stage? According to the spokesperson this was indeed the case: the directeurs sportifs perfectly know the rules and we know what we're allowed to do and what we're not allowed to do, but a loudspeaker is more agressive, it works better to motivate a rider and it also allows to communicate intermediate times.
But doesn't this bring any security risks when the race radio is not used (everyone knows that's the main argument teams and riders use when they say they're against the radio ban)? No, the riders all did a training ride on this parcours before the race.
That doesn't however take away the fact that, when full speed during the race, some riders might not remember all the difficult points on the race route! We all remember Christophe Moreau's time trial when he forgot to turn left!
According to Saur-Sojasun this is not a real problem: Race radio's are not the most useful in a time trial. Over a short distance like this one we gave at most 5 bits of information to each rider and the riders clearly hear the loudspeaker.
But was that the real answer? The information which came back to me from Corsica make me think that Stéphane Heulot's team in fact didn't know this exception on the radio ban!
Cofidis: something went wrong
Cofidis, le crédit en ligne came back to me on this question after having discussed this internally, probably with the directeur sportif in this race, Didier Rous.
Answering my question, the team said: the protest action was cancelled so we didn't take the race radio's to Corsica. Indeed, when Pat McQuaid (President of the UCI) announced to Gianni Bugno (President of the CPA, the Association of Professional Riders) that he accepted to meet him to discuss several topics including the radio ban, the CPA decided to no longer ask the riders to use the radio's. The AIGCP, the association of the professional teams, followed the CPA in this decision.
But that doesn't explain why race radio's were not used in this time trial in Porto-Vecchio. According to the team spokes person, the team knew we had the right to use them, but apparently something went wrong and the person who should have taken them must have forgotten them when he heard the protest action was cancelled. So that's why Rein Taaramae, best young rider in this Critérium International, was followed by a car with a loudspeaker (we can see and hear it in the video above), even though the team's spokes person told me the team didn't use any other ways to communicate with the riders ...
The team however says to perfectly know the rules: we receive many documents from the UCI, it's like big bibles, but we have an administrative section which makes sure all official information gets explained, so the information gets to the right place.
The Spanish team was present in this Critérium International with its French directeur sportif, Yvon Ledanois. Yvon's answer on this question is quite clear: we used a loudspeaker and race radio's. Indeed, it's often the combination of both which is useful to provide information to the riders through the race radio, while encouraging them via the loudspeaker.
When talking with Yvon about the question on the exception on the radio ban on time trials, the former rider knows why this exception exists: race radio's are forbidden in the peloton, not for the individual effort. Indeed, people criticise race radios for strategy reasons in the race which means there's no reason not to provide information during a time trial.
He also showed to be deceived by the ignorance of some directeurs sportifs: I was surprised to see that several directeurs sportifs didn't use race radio's. Some directeurs sportifs came to see me because they were surprised to see that I used them. They asked me whether I knew it was forbidden, I answered them: no, but I do know that you don't know the rules.
Yvon Ledanois explains why he knows this specific point of the rules: when I go to a race, I do everything for my riders to get to the start in the best possible way. If I'd go there just to drive a car, that would be useless. If you want to do that, you better sign a contract with Mavic to help your riders with mechanical problems and you can let them drive the car. The directeurs sportifs who asked him this question must have deceived Ledanois: that shows that some people probably are not at the right place being a directeur sportif.
During this time trial he thus didn't use it either: we chose to use the loudspeaker, I don't like to have the radio transmitter stuck on my back. But we know that race radio's are allowed during time trials.
Apparently not all teams knew that race radio's were allowed during time trials.
Is it the fault of the teams? Or is it UCI's fault? Or the fault of the organisor of the race?
Maybe everyone has his bit of responsibility in there. The teams should more seriously look at the questions they care about and no one can deny race radio's are one of these questions, but the UCI maybe has a role as well to improve the communication about what's new in the huge pile of rules. But than again, the team representatives should make sure they don't fall asleep during UCI meetings as one of the people I interviewed on this topic told me!
The other topic which made some noise in Corsica: what was under Fränk Schleck's skinsuit
Something which hasn't been discussed on race radio but more specifically after the race was the thing Fränk Schleck (Team Leopard-Trek) was wearing under his skinsuit. As you can see in the video above, a quite big object was positioned on his chest. This was not the radio transmitter/receiver for his race radio because this was clearly visible on the back of the rider from Luxembourg. It was something else ...
The press contact for the team from Luxembourg answers the question: It was a Camelbak. Tests have shown that it improves aerodynamics.
On the Camelbak web site there's no product which you can wear on the chest but apparently the team is using a specific product which answers the needs they most probably identified in the wind tunnel.
The illustration picture of this article has not been taken during the Critérium International 2011. Alberto Contador was not present in this race by the way ...by Thomas Vergouwen
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Nan mais tu es vraiment incroyable toi... l'il partout, c'est bien ce que je disais ! lol
En tout cas, bel article, encore une fois ! mais que d'histoires ces oreillettes !!!
Perso je trouve ça sympa, à l'ancienne, avec le haut-parleur et le DS qui braille dedans !!! mdr
| Catherine | tuesday 29 March 2011 at 23:36:00
Soit c'est un Camelbak, soit c'est un réservoir d'huile pour son pédalier magique, ou encore des piles électrique pour... OK, je sors ! :-)
Schandalig dat Jaja niet meteen door had wie je was... ;-)
Kwalijke zaak dat ploegleiders niet op de hoogte zijn van de geldende regels en een (serieus) volger als jij wel!!
| Meggie | wednesday 30 March 2011 at 20:59:50
Misschien een idee om sommige ploegleiders oortjes in te geven met daarin de berichten omtrent veranderingen in de reglementen van de UCI.
| Tonn Vergouwen | wednesday 30 March 2011 at 22:06:38
dis donc comment ca se fait que tu as le n° de portable de Jaja et moi pas???
ce n est pas juste ca , trop de privilèges!!ouinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!
au cas ou Jaja viendrait lire ce message mon N° de portable est 06.............!!!
et puis non qu il me le demande je lui donnerais volontiers ;-)). Par contre je suis déçus qu il ne soit plus sur la moto ;-(,sans Jaja an cur du peloton ce n est pas pareil..!REVIENS MON JAJA ....................ON A PAS LES MÊMES A LA MAISON .lol