Plenty of crackle over race radio issue

The stand-off between the Union Cycliste International and riders over race radios takes a new turn this week with reports UCI president Pat McQuaid and his predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, will visit the Tour of Oman to address the issue.

McQuaid and Verbruggen, who stood down from the UCI leadership but has long been regarded as a major powerbroker in the sport, are expected to spend only 24 hours in Muscat, Oman, to reinforce the UCI's position on banning race radios.

The UCI aims to ban race radio use that keeps riders and following team cars in contact. Radios are now banned in all races but UCI World Tour events. Radios are banned at the Tour of Oman, which starts on Tuesday.

It is understood the main problem pro riders and their teams have with the issue - apart from the safety aspect - is that they believe the UCI is making major decisions about professional cycling without consulting them.

Verbruggen spent much of his previous year as UCI president denying the existence of cycling's alleged problems, from doping to denigration of the UCI's business acumen. That he was reported earlier this week to be travelling to the Tour of Oman as a ''development'' step has raised eyebrows.

Either way, that it will take the intended private trip by McQuaid, and reportedly by Verbruggen as well, to travel to countries such as Oman to speak to disgruntled riders and team bosses over the issue indicates how nervous UCI leadership must be about the issue.