More UCI Controversy – Race with us or face a ban. (Updated)

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UPDATE: The UCI has postponed enforcing this rule in 2013. More details at the bottom of this page.

If you race a cycling event that’s not sanctioned by the UCI, you risk a fine and a month’s suspension of your race licence. This is a rule that’s been in the UCI handbook for a several years, but it seems to have been mostly ignored (or at least, not enforced) by the national cycling organisations of most countries. And besides, it was understood to only apply to trade teams – ie road professionals and not really to mountain bikers. The understandable idea behind the rule is to encourage all cycling events to be organised under the auspices of the national cycling body of that particular country. However, many events are too quirky, left-field or new in concept to necessarily want to be organised under a national body with the rules, commissaires and fees that that implies.

However… and this is where it gets good. The US national body, USA Cycling has recently written to the UCI for clarification of this and received a very surprising definition of this rule.

The letter, written by the beleaguered UCI president Pat McQuaid himself spells things out like this:

Article 1.2.019 applies to all licence holders, without exception. It does not solely concern professional riders or just the members of UCI teams, contrary to certain statements in the press and on some blogs.

It applies to ALL race licence holders…

Special races or events are understood to be cycle events which are not registered on the national calendar of the country’s federation or on the UCI international calendar. This generally concerns events that are occasional and which do not recur, most often organised by persons or entities who do not belong to the world of organised sport. For example, an event may be organised by an association that does not have a link to the National Federation, such as a race specifically for members of the armed forces, fire fighters or students or perhaps as part of a national multisport event.

And if you regularly organise bike events, it applies to you. The exceptions will be rare.
And what’s the penalty? A CHF50 – CHF100 fine (£35-£70) and more importantly, the suspension of your race licence for a month.

There are obviously quirky events like the Singlespeed UK (and World) Champs, the One Speed Cyclocross Champs of the Universe and that kind of thing that this applies to, but what about a local four cross race? That’s covered under the rules. Even though it’s a discipline mostly ignored by the UCI. And what about the new league of enduro events? Unless they’re organised under their national federation, then they’ll get you in trouble. And this applies to ‘cycling events’ and not just races – so sportives and mountain bike challenge events would fall under that.

Events like the Enduro World Series are organised by a non-UCI organisation and so all of those racers entering could stand to lose their licences. That’s not an issue to some riders, but to anyone that relies on team sponsorship (or prize money) and races their national series, they could forfeit all of that.

Giant Bicycles’ Adam Craig, who is both an Olympian mountain biker, international level racer and also a past competitor of the Trans Provence and the 2007 Singlespeed World Champion had this to say on his Facebook page: “Here’s the thing, Pat, .001% of cyclists are actually involved in the Olympic Movement. The rest just want to ride bikes. From someone who’s seen both sides… Consider this my resignation.”

As we mentioned, the rule’s been in the rulebook for years, but it’s only recently that it’s starting to be enforced (in the US). Whether British Cycling or Scottish Cycling choose to enforce it (or in fact if they now haver a choice in the matter) is something we’re still waiting to hear.

Update – UCI postpones: 

We’ve just heard that the UCI has bowed to the intense public outcry and won’t be enforcing this rule in 2013. However, they will be meeting with national governing bodies to work out how best to enforce it in 2014. Here’s what it said:

The UCI listened to the feedback from the various groups involved and who feel affected by a strict and immediate enforcement of rule 1.2.019 and its associated sanctions. The UCI has decided to postpone strict enforcement of rule 1.2.019 in 2013 with the expectation that all stakeholders (National Federations, race directors, teams and riders) will discuss and do what is necessary to prepare for the rule’s full enforcement in 2014.

UCI Communication Services



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Comments (17)

    I´d like to apologise on behalf of all Irish bike riders for the douchebag that is Pat McQuaid.

    Can you put pressure on the Irish fed to not re-nominate McQuaid for the upcoming election?

    Unbelievable! Surely if everybody boycotted the UCI?!?
    I think CTBM should be in charge of world cycling 🙂

    unsatisfied with the damage it’s done itself over the handling of endemic doping in the 80s and 90s, the UCI today shot itself in the head. repeatedly.

    Cleary the UCI are rattled. Lets all race Enduro.

    I know this is a family site and that language should be moderated appropriately…

    However **** the UCI and if BC uphold this then **** the BCF too. They can cancel my race license and refund me my race entry fees

    It’s almost worth getting a race license just so i can get banned! The sooner the world tour teams grow the balls to tell the UCI to go **** themselves the better.

    Good to see the UCI are still focusing on the things that really matter in the sport; such as this nonsense, the angle of saddles, the importance of ensuring that tube aspect ratios don’t exceed 3:1, etc. I’d hate for them to be distracted from their laser-like focus on these important areas by something as trivial as a major performance-enhancing-drug scandal involving their golden boy Lance.

    This is all just to stop Lance ever riding a bike event again….

    I’m pretty sure that all Enduro World Series events are sanctioned by their relative country’s governing body, the EMBA tweeted to confirm this so there won’t be any problems for international riders there! Most enduro events in this country are sanctioned by BC anyway.

    I have to say I’d never heard of this rule until last year. I moved to Sweden in 2010, rode an event called the Malmö Velo Classic in 2011. It was kind of like a Sportive, only seemingly more serious and more of a race, with a mass start. Good fun I thought. Then last year I couldn’t make it due to a clash with an MTB race. Turns out a lot of guys from my club had received warning letters from the Swedish cycling federation stating that they could be banned and receive a fine if they were to ride in such an ‘un-sanctioned’ event again. Turns out that about 70% of the races here are not sanctioned. So why exactly would a person buy a licence. Surely they’re shooting themselves in the foot here?Less people will buy a licence/membership. So anyway, not only in the USA.

    Just underlines the fact that racing and the UCI in particular
    are becoming less relevant to the wider cycling community.

    The death throws of a beleaguered tyrant?

    I vaugley remember and Irish footballer being given a ban by the FA for playing in a GAA match. It’s not like he was palying in a NotFIFA or FIFI or what ever the other Soccer games organised outwith FIFA structures are.

    Sometimes these rules makes sense though, for example if Jenson button decided to take part in illegal street racing the FIA would be right to ban him (some sportives are straying into that territory).
    But this seems like banning Button for deciding to race a motorbike, Stock Car or Drag racer which are organised outwith the FIA motorsport structure but are otherwise legal.

    One of the bike groups near Stirling tried to run a Duathlon in the winter, Scottish Cycling apparently told them they couldn’t. (although Dualthlon is run by Triathlon Scotland so they did have a point there).

    Which points at something else, what if you’re both a licence holder for British Cycling and British Triathlon, does the UCI rule mean you will be penalised for entering triathlons?

    In MTB in the UK, with the exception of the 50 or so Elites, I can’t see why anyone would actually care. Even if they enforce it, it’s no big deal to a Sport / Expect license holder, they might just miss one race, but it’s only a hobby. Seems a storm in a teacup.

    Motorcyle sport went through this sort of nonsense decades ago.

    I suspect that the courts would, in this day and age, throw this rule out as unreasonably restrictive in the case of professionals (assuming they were partipating in an event “properly organised by a regulated body of some sort” as opposed to an illegal race, in law terms, not rule of sport) or as just plain unreasonable to amateurs. In other words, nowadays, no body has the right to set itself up as the sole controller of a sport, as long as the alternative organisation is suitably conducted as to comply with the law of the land, public safety etc.

    ^what Orange crush said. I think the US courts would make very short shrift of this. the EU courts would take years but would almost certainly decide that it’s against some anti-monopoly reg or other.

    It’s like Coke saying they’ll fine you if you drink pepsi. “Get F%^ked” would be a reasonable answer, I think

    So that would include The 3 peaks cyclocross……

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