UCI, USA Cycling Asked to Meet at Sea Otter, Abolish Non-Sanctioned Race Restriction for Pros

We don’t cover a ton of racing news here on Bikerumor, but every once in a while, something is just worth sharing. While the rule in questions restricts which events pro cyclists can compete in, if affects most of us. Say you enjoy “racing” alongside them at your favorite event. If things stay the same, that’ll be much less likely, yet we seriously doubt it’s enough incentive for any promoter to sanction their event. Anywhoo, read on and make your own decision…then let the UCI and USAC know what you think!

ANONYMOUS PRESS RELEASE: Smoke coming from the USA Cycling offices may indeed indicate fire. The recent decision by cycling’s national governing body to begin rigid enforcement of a universally unpopular (and it would seem, arbitrarily enforced) UCI bylaw threatening sanction against professional riders registered on UCI rosters participating in a non-USAC or UCI sanctioned events, has the racing community up in arms.

Riders are calling for a sit-down at this year’s Sea Otter Classic between UCI and USAC executives along with trade team riders and their industry sponsors. At issue is the impact such restrictions place on the earning ability of the riders themselves who have cited the larger cash purses frequently on offer at non-USAC sanctioned events. The negative impact in grassroots development resulting from the prohibition of trade team athletes participating in local races or emerging disciplines such as Enduro are also referenced.

To date, prestigious events such as Epic Rides’ Whiskey 50, the Leadville 100, the Breck Epic MTB Stage Race and Whistler’s bleeding-edge Crankworx festival remain unsanctioned and therefore off-limits to trade team riders.

The petition calling for a Sea Otter Classic summit makes for interesting reading. And if numbers (or the complete lack of voices in opposition…at least those NOT typing from USAC-owned keyboards) are any indication, the riding community at large may indeed have a legitimate axe to grind.

Will Pat McQuaid or Steve Johnson make themselves available? Time will tell. You can find the petition here.

Comments

Mindless - 03/24/13 - 12:39pm

Such a rule exists?

Sdc - 03/24/13 - 12:46pm

Who needs heroes? This rule crushes the growth of the sport like no other

What? - 03/24/13 - 2:56pm

Time to boycott any USAC event until this rule is changed.

David French - 03/24/13 - 2:57pm

In 1942 the, “British League Of Racing Cyclists” was formed in rivalry to the, “National Cyclists Union.” The BLRC wanted a more European approach to cycle racing which would include mass-start type races which the NCU opposed.

It’s time that the same thing happened again and all amateur and professional cyclists, road and off road, bicycle manufacturers and race event organisers told the UCI to get f*#ked!

chrisc - 03/24/13 - 3:14pm

On the Isle of Man we have loads of home grown pro cyclists ,tour riders,world champions and gold medal winners,plus moto gp and superbike stars who train on cycles .Not bad for a population of 84,000 people .So a club training ride with these guys is out of this world for the junior riders.When it comes to racing ,the pros usually take part as training. One such race is the Christmas Hamper race usually held between Christmas and New Year. Mark Cavendish decided to support this race wearing his newly aquired world stripes. My 15 year old son Nick Corlett took his place in the pelaton and rode alongside Cav who couldn’t believe he was 15. Cav won [by a large margin],Nick was 4th. At the prize presentation Cav asked the Isle of Man Team manager to sign Nick up.This type of “meet and greet “the riding public ,just wont happen if the UCI keep this draconian law,but thats the UCI for ya!

reason - 03/24/13 - 3:22pm

I’ve heard the back channels on the reasons why USAC is ‘supporting’ this rule. From what most of us forget to understand, is that road cycling, xc mtbing, track racing, etc, are all IOC sports (olympic events) – which in order for USAC to maintain funding for national, regional and development programs with the USOC (US olympic committee), they must abide by the UCI’s decrees, which is the recognized global governing body of cycling. Should USAC say “F*** this rule” and heed the voices of the people saying “let the pro’s race” (which are only a few mtb racers on actual UCI trade teams) – USAC would be threatened with losing funding from the USOC for certain events, by their insubordination. Obviously there are tons of other details that go into it, but for the most part, we have to understand that USAC is an extension of our global governing body, the UCI. Think of it like state and federal laws. State can say smoking weed is legal, but the feds still say no. When push comes to shove, if you want to keep your Pro license you worked so hard for, you have to play by the rules of the governing body that gave you that license! Otherwise, be a pro racer that only races non-sanctioned races, and hope for a sponsor to pay you large sums of money racing those races and gain tons of prize money! However, your hopes of making it on one of the larger UCI trade teams and making a sweet salary as a pro are limited. For the rest of us, this rule has very, VERY little effect on the amateur racer.

dpcott - 03/24/13 - 5:26pm

Chrisc- Thank you for your comment. That right there is the EXACT reason, and for that reason alone that this rule should be scrapped. @Reason, I think the point you have has merit and is a solid argument which I would be inclined to agree with except for the fact that at the same time the USAC announced the enforcement of this rule, they also announced they would no longer allow dual sanctioning of events. Removing the dual sanctioning at the same time of enforcing this rule proves that their intentions are not to stay in line with USOC regulations, but to try and control more aspects of the sport.

rider - 03/24/13 - 5:50pm

This just applies to American riders, right?

Walt - 03/24/13 - 7:01pm

USAC just wants money. They don’t care about amateurs, they honestly don’t care much about pros either – they just want to stay relevant enough to keep money coming in. None of the good MTB races are USAC anymore, so I think the writing is on the wall. OBRA should just go national, they’re still new and fresh enough to actually care about giving every rider an excellent experience.

yesplease - 03/24/13 - 10:56pm

Reason, USAC is the only federation “enforcing” this rule. Barry Wicks, Pro MTBer called several other cycling unions (Canada, Aus and several Euro countries) and they are not enforcing the rule. USAC is the only one I have heard that are actually enforcing it and preventing them from racing.

I have had the chance to line up with several pro’s and have enjoyed every minute of it. The rule is killing cycling, not helping it.

yesplease - 03/24/13 - 11:45pm

Straight from Geoff Kabush from Canada eh: hahahaha

Couple observations as a Canadian in ‘Murica looking at USA Cycling’s actions…

How do you justify selectively enforcing the “non-sanctioned race rule” only on UCI Trade Team riders? If you think it is such a great rule then why not enforce it like the rule states and sanction all UCI licenced riders? Maybe because that would be a bit ridiculous? You do have the option to not enforce it, not use the riders as pawns, and instead work on a better product and solution with organizers. I hope you see the light because the optics from where I sit look really bad for you.

Secondly I hate to criticize any anti-doping initiatives but nice work on the originality and trademarking RaceClean. We’ve only had a clean sport initiative in Canada for several years called Race Clean, Own Your Victory. Maybe you’ve seen all our athletes wearing the Race Clean socks, wristbands, and the logo on our Canadian National Team kit. When picking a name you should try Google out, it works pretty good. Also, more testing is probably only going to help so much. Those 300 tests on that Lance guy didn’t really work so well.

Boss - 03/25/13 - 1:45am

This is typical UCI, trying to control everything. Probably still sore about the Enduro World Cup. It’s just control for controls sake. They are doing nothing to help the sport grow with these new rules. I propose that the UCI exec members must racing licenses of some level and take part in racing in some form, lets get rid of all the bureaucrats who are there for the sake of politics and put cyclists in charge of governing our sport.

Aybars Surucu - 03/25/13 - 2:55am

In time, UCI has overseen the real demand of real people; they just took care of superhuman racer things…

Every cycling enthusiastic, every young rider wants to try themselves in a race; it’s a natural thing. It’s not fair to block riders -by the name of protecting cycling- to compete and share a ride on a race track!

UCI is just trying to cover-up Lance scandal with messing around, that’s all… They have to clear themselves before changing anything currently running!

off-roadie - 03/25/13 - 9:18am

I was pretty sure the Leadville 100 was USAC sanctioned last year…

chrisc - 03/25/13 - 9:49am

Answer to Riders comment ,no its an international rule across the board.Which means our international riders cant even take part in a charity race on the Isle of Man if they are signed up to the UCI. As far as I know this seems to only apply to the road and not mountain bike which is my sons main sport.

MikeMac - 03/25/13 - 10:38am

Most Americans would readily admit that our society is overly-litigious and that our courtrooms are swollen with frivolous lawsuits. But in this case, our legal system may work to our advantage.

USAC has an ‘out’ should they choose to exercise it. By following the UCI rule they’re in violation of the Sherman Act. They’re also on the wrong side of several federal right-to-work laws. If some enterprising athlete or team threatens to sue, or if the Feds get wind of this and elect to pay any attention, USAC will lose.

Full disclosure – I’m not an attorney. But I sure do know a lot of them.

Chainsaw - 03/25/13 - 10:51am

I want to hear somebody who is in favor of USAC’s holding to the UCI rule.

BenjaminR - 03/25/13 - 11:08am

I’m not trying to take sides here, but from what I am hearing, the argument against this rule is that: ‘amateur racers will only attend unsanctioned races if there are UCI licensed professionals racing in the pro category at that event’?

Seriously?

If this rule is going to “kill” our sport. I don’t see it.

Bare in mind that professionals, by definition, do this as a job. There are a lot of things at my job that I can’t do, like wear flip flops, but I still go to work everyday. I like to wear flip flops.

Seems like we are all getting agro and angry for nothing.

BenjaminR - 03/25/13 - 11:11am

Very good point MikeMac! Interesting if that plays into this!

Rogue - 03/25/13 - 11:29am

Technically as a USAC and UCI licensed mechanic I am not eligible to work for or at these events whether as a volunteer or paid.

That is something that I find absurd and fully support the athletes for fighting against this rule.

Tyler (Editor) - 03/25/13 - 11:46am

BenjaminR – there are other reasons why it sucks, here are two: Pros like to race in non-sanctioned events, but this would make them choose between racing things they want to race or keeping their pro card. Also, event promoters often invite pros to attend because they’re a draw for both spectators and other participants, so it potentially hurts promoters, too.

herrow prease - 03/25/13 - 12:42pm

This only affects pro’s so not sure why everyone cares so much.

That being said, people need to ask what added value usac brings to the table. orba says “nothing” and I agree. Better insurance…nope… but again. this affects none of us normal racers..

The thing that really bothers me is that if you want to race here in the states you have to have a license unless you want to pay additional fee every race. These fee’s go to the very company that helped lance cover his shit. You don’t want to support such an organization, but you have no choice.

Greg C. - 03/25/13 - 1:01pm

USAC has become largely irrelevant, yet I pay $60 a year for an annual license that nets me no real benefit (contrary to USAC’s claims) and more and more is not needed for races I like. The same is true for registering my race “Team” at the tune of $150 annually so they can sponsor a local race. The elective enforcement of Rule 1.2.019 simply illustrates how out of touch USAC is.

Colin - 03/25/13 - 1:18pm

I know a number of people holding USAC pro cards that make less than I do as a bike mechanic.

Rogue, I am in the same boat. Stop limiting my friends and my ability to make a living.

This is further proof that the system is broken and the UCI needs to GFTS.

dave - 03/25/13 - 1:24pm

UCI leaves it up to the national federations whether to enforce this rule.

I believe none of the european national cycling authorities enforce it.

USAC is enforcing this rule because it wants to kill competing sanctioning orgs. Its a money grab.

The UCI, IOC, and USOC have nothing to do with it.. USAC could say they choose not to enforce it and that would be the end of it.

chrisc - 03/25/13 - 2:33pm

The only other sport I know of that stops its members competing in smaller events is formula 1. i.e. they no longer go skiing in the winter ,playing local soccer etc. Mainly because they may break something and then cost the team millions. Robert Kubica in f1,went rallying and hit a barrier edge on ,nearly lost his arm and hes had to retire from F1. Maybe your Baseball and “football” players have a similar clause in their contract.
I get the impression that the UCI would like a very Elite group who are above entering anything as low as a club event.But its these type of events that earn a small club a lot of money,to use for Juniors etc.
Dont know if you have sportives in the US but they really are big in the UK. Thousands of riders enter.
We have the END 2 END mountainbike race in the Isle of Man that makes our little club a shed load of cash but we have everyone from Olympic and Elite riders down to 1700 people who just buy a bike and try it out. Hope the UCI dont hear about it!

Dan Werle - 03/26/13 - 2:34am

Reason, I agree with your analogy comparing the UCI’s relationship with USAC and differences between federal and state laws; however, I disagree with your argument. Although the enforcement for now is being directed towards athletes riding for professional teams, the rule is clear that all UCI license holders are subject to the same restriction. Locally, in Oregon, that means a number of athletes interested in improving their skills and competing on an international level can’t participate in local events. For the adults, it’s a nuisance; for junior riders, it’s a much harder obstacle to overcome.

Like Chainsaw asked earlier, are there any supporters of this enforcement who aren’t employees at USAC?

Although USAC is officially a 501(c)(3), I view them as a conscience-less corporation. They are focused on maintaining their monopoly over competitive cycling in the United States. They are willing to contradict their own mission to “grow competitive cycling in America” in order to preserve, or, increase, their share of the market. And, they are proving themselves again to be incompetent, greedy, and out of touch with competitive cyclists of all levels in this country.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.