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UCI reverses course on drone footage at races

Flying footage coming to UCI races as of March 1

Photo by: GCN Twitter

The UCI isn’t banning drone footage after all, it turns out. Peter van den Abeele, CEO of Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced the upcoming reversal on Wednesday. The drones will be freed to fly on March 1.

This quick bit of regulatory aerobatics comes just days after a live-feed drone camera was hauled down mid-race by officials in Gavere during a Superprestige cyclocross race. That drone’s brief flight was widely praised for offering a new perspective on racing, including by Lucinda Brand, the athlete it was following.

Van den Abeele clarified UCI’s stance on the flying camera’s to Sporza on Wednesday. He also shed light on why officials in Gavere were quick to ground the drones first in-race flight.

“Drones can be used for live recording, if prior authorization is requested,” van den Abeele clarified. “Apparently that written request did not happen in Gavere. The chairman of the jury simply applied the regulations.”

The UCI CEO added that drones during live feed races was the topic of debate a recent meeting of cycling’s governing body. That is where the decision to take advantage of drone footage was made and where the March 1 start date comes from.