Radio ban decision due Thursday

Updated: July 15, 2009, 10:24 AM ET
Associated Press

SAINT-FARGEAU, France -- A decision on whether to overturn the earpiece ban for the 13th stage of the Tour de France is expected Thursday, UCI president Pat McQuaid said.

According to McQuaid, Tour organizers have asked the cycling's governing body to reverse its decision to run Friday's stage without electronic means of communication.

Tuesday's 10th stage was ridden without earpieces and a majority of riders and sports directors criticized that measure, saying it was dangerous.

"The situation is that ASO asked us to turn around the ban for Friday," McQuaid said by telephone Wednesday. "They [the UCI officials] in turn have to respond to me by tomorrow."

McQuaid added that he was not opposed to the earpiece ban, but that the matter should be discussed further.

"I'm 50-50 on it, I can see both sides of the argument. It is something we will continue to study, and continue to discuss and evaluate," McQuaid said. "Very much a step-by-step process. Because the current group of sporting directors, the current group of riders, cannot operate without them."

The Tour wanted to inject drama into the race by eliminating earpieces for the 10th and 13th stages. Tour director Christian Prudhomme denied asking the UCI to reverse its decision, but the decision may have been taken at a higher level.

"The UCI will decide what it wants," Prudhomme said. "In any case, I didn't ask them anything."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press