The banning of race radios on this year's Tour of Southland would create a level playing field without compromising safety, race director Bruce Ross said yesterday.
Radios connecting riders with their team vans have been common practice for New Zealand's most prestigious stage race for several years – for any team that could afford the equipment – but they will not be allowed this year.
The move is being copied around the world. However, there has been resistance from some of the big teams' bosses, including arguably its most outspoken critic, TeamRadioshack director sportif Johan Bruyneel.
Proponents claim the radio bans promote more exciting racing, but Bruyneel and many riders believe their safety is put at risk because they are not given advance warning of road hazards.
"It's a global thing and it's been argued about for a couple of years now," Ross said.
"In my mind it probably makes for a fairer race because riders have to work out the tactics for themselves, they aren't being told what to do from that helicopter view of who is breaking off the front or not. It's back to where it used to be and it's a level playing field for all because some teams didn't have race radios."
Ross said important race information would be conveyed by officials in cars and on motorbikes.
PureBlack Racing director sportif Carl Williams believes the move will give his squad an advantage in the PowerNet-sponsored tour because they have been racing under the same conditions for the past season in the United States.
The tour, which starts with a prologue on October 30, finishes in Invercargill on November 5.