History was made in recent weeks with disc brakes making their Grand Tour debut for the first time ever. Permitted by the UCI as part of the ongoing trial into their use, the system appeared in the Vuelta a España when Trek Factory Racing rider Markel Irizar used discs on selected stages.
It was just the first step. The use of such devices will be far more widespread in 2016 as all WorldTour teams will be permitted to utilise them throughout the season.
In April the UCI set out the details of their introduction. It said then that all of the teams would have the opportunity to use such brakes at two events of their choosing during August and September of this year.
It added that testing would continue at all events on the UCI professional road calendar in 2016. Providing the experience was a satisfactory one, the systems would be officially introduced to the WorldTour in 2017.
“The aim is to eventually introduce disc brakes to all levels of road cycling,” said the UCI, making clear what the end goal is.
CyclingTips contacted Trek Factory Racing in relation to its experiences of using the new system in the Vuelta a España. According to Matt Shriver, the team’s technical director, Irizar was the only rider in the peloton to use disc brakes in the race.
The team selected him to use the Domane disc bike as he was the rider who best fitted the current geometry and size of the available model.
“He used it in some of the stages,” Shriver said. “We selected the stages we wanted to test him on based on the course profile, those with lots of descending, heavy braking, hairpin turns.
“Just something that would give us a good sample of different braking conditions.”