Tour de France earpiece ban overturned |

Tour de France earpiece ban overturned

VITTEL, France and#8212; The earpiece ban at the Tour de France was overturned Thursday, and riders will again be able to race with electronic radio equipment.

The decision was announced by the International Cycling Union as Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy wore the yellow jersey to begin the 12th stage of the Tour.

Astana team rivals Alberto Contador and seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong were in second and third place respectively heading into the 131.4-mile trek from Tonnerre to Vittel.

The ICU said earpieces will be allowed for Friday’s 13th stage from Vittel to Colmar.

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

Armstrong, likely to stay cautious until the race reaches the Alps on Sunday, said the flat stages of the Tour were nerve-racking.

“It is stressful with the crashes, on a stage like this where you have nothing to gain and then you lose everything because of a crash or a split in the group,” the Texan said before Thursday’s start. “You have to pay attention and try to avoid a crash.”

Wednesday’s stage was marred by several crashes and 19 riders were slightly injured.

“Yesterday, there was no way to avoid that crash, if you were just behind it, you were going down,” Armstrong said. “So that is something which keeps you up at night, you have to constantly pay attention, I try to give myself a bit of space from people in front of me so I have a bit of time to brake.”

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