Forbidden Races

Monday, 8 April 2013

Want to ride a mountain bike race in the USA? A time trial in Britain? A criterium in Australia? A road race in France? A gran fondo in Italy? Careful because whether you’re a novice or a pro you risk being fined and suspended.

A long-standing rule has said licence holders can’t take part in unsanctioned races. Only it’s been ignored by everyone from beginners to grand tour champions. Until now.

The rule says licence holders can’t take part in unapproved events. Events have to be on the UCI calendar or that of a national federation. This site covered the topic in 2011 when USA Cycling was emailing pro licence holders to warn of trouble if they did non-sanctioned races, like a private cyclocross race or a local gran fondo. The rule is old and has always applied to every licence holder, from the lowest category to pro but it seemed only the pros were getting the emails. Here’s the rule, my emphasis:

1.2.019 No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI.

A national federation may grant special exceptions for races or particular events run in its own country.

Note it says all licence holders, that means anyone with a licence belonging to a national federation that’s a member of the UCI. As for special exemptions, these are very rare. Remember under the UCI’s terms a licence holder isn’t someone who pins numbers to their jersey and holds a racing licence but can include a manager, a driver or a soigneur and others. But like other UCI rules it’s been abandoned and ignored by many. This is changing.

Click to enlarge

What’s new?
The UCI has moved to clarify the situation. In a email sent to all national federations, displayed above, cycling’s governing body explains the rule “applies to all license 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.” There’s a circularity here because press and blogs covered the topic back in 2011 USA Cycling was apparently emailing warnings to pros rather than all its members. Note the irony of  an email signed by Pat McQuaid who infamously got a lifetime ban from Olympic competition for riding an unsanctioned race under the apartheid regime of South Africa using a false name.

What does it mean?
For starters the rule isn’t very clear. Rule 1.2.019 sits below a title called “§3 Forbidden races” but the rule itself uses the word “event” but the term is undefined. What is a race? Is a gran fondo where riders are timed, classified and the first riders win points and stand on a podium a race? Are licence holders banned from the weekly timed rides up Alpe d’Huez in summer?

In theory it means any licence holder must avoid taking part in unsanctioned cycling events. This means some MTB races in the USA, time trials in Britain run a rival governing body called Cycling Time Trials, road races in France run on the FSGT or UFOLEP calender and some gran fondo rides in Italy are potentially off-limit too.

It’s a big deal for many. USA Cycling was the first to respond with a clarification statement that stated “this rule only pertains to those riders holding an international/UCI license,” implying most domestic riders are OK. Yet this flouts the UCI’s insistence on “all licence holders” and it’s left many people confused.

It goes all the way to the pros. Bradley Wiggins, the reigning Tour de France champion, ignored the rule in 2011. More importantly, nobody cared. Just a few months ago Tony Martin, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Ryder Hesjedal took part in a event in Dubai that’s not on the UAE Cycling Federation’s calendar. Sure it wasn’t a big race. But it was an “event” and it was not on any calendar, at least as far as I can tell by navigating Arabic websites. Similarly see the Amstel Curacao race, the end of season gathering in the Caribbean (pictured at the top) is a fixture… that’s apparently not on the calendar.

The rules say all these rogue riders risk suspension:

1.2.021 Breaches of articles 1.2.019 or 1.2.020 shall render the licence holder liable to one month’s suspension and a fine of CHF 50 to 100.

In practice the rule has existed for years but has been ignored by everyone. But now the UCI is telling federations that past indulgences are over and everyone must follow the rules. Predictably this sudden change is causing problems for some.

Why are they doing it?
Many cyclists are scratching their heads over this. But let’s look at it from the UCI’s point of view:

  • the UCI and member federations spend a lot of time and money to create calendars. Imagine a private race promoter offering a series of races. People might ride these events but the private series doesn’t build a national team, offer coaching or lobby on behalf of the sport. In other words, doing a private race is a small way to undermine the infrastructure and finances of a national federation
  • cycle racing is highly regulated with detailed guidelines for safety and more. The UCI doesn’t want to have its riders taking part in “alleycat” events run without the body of rules, protection and regulation that the sport has built up over the years
  • Sport is regulated in many European countries. For example to play football in France when you join a club part of your subscription includes becoming a member of the national federation. This makes the sport almost inseparable from the national federation. In Switzerland, where the UCI is based, they are moving towards a system where members of all clubs are automatically enrolled with the federation
  • certain activities might be tolerated in some countries but the UCI can’t let member federations pick and chose which sections of the rulebook to apply. A federation agrees to sign up to the rules so it must enforce them.

It’s likely the UCI sees this as a protective move that bolsters their member federations and wards off people trying to run unregulated races. Above all it’s had the rule in place for years and it’s I’m supportive of to the idea that if there is a rule it should either be enforced… or amended.

Monopoly Protection
The rule just doesn’t feel right, it’s restrictive. Just as you don’t get banned from Burger King just because you were caught in McDonalds, punishing a licence holder because they rode their bike under someone else’s rules seems pretty mean. Sure burger bars don’t make you sign up to rules but without wanting to sound like a whining teenager, we have human rights. Free association is one of these and choosing where, how and with whom you ride your bike is your choice. The idea that a governing body can sanction you for doing something out of their remit is questionable. Indeed thanks to a reader, I’ve learned there have been successful challenges to this notion. I gather that swimming’s FINA tries to federate everyone under the same rules but plays it casual with some events.

In fact far from helping the sport, these rules could be counter-productive. They put up barriers and make governing bodies look like defensive spoilsports. If you like doing mountain bike races in the US or time trials in Britain you might not bother taking out a licence because you could be punished. That means fewer members and all the negatives that flow from this. Far from co-opting members, it rejects them.

Conclusion
A governing body is only as good as its rulebook and selective enforcement creates problems. Telling federations to suddenly enforce a rule that was ignored for years is going to upset many who were happy with things the way they were.

In a way it’s good the UCI is reminding us of its rules because national federations can’t cherry-pick the rules they like. But the disruptive effect of insisting this rule is upheld risks causing headaches for races, sponsors, riders and even national federations.

The UCI might think it’s protecting its sport but the risk is that in trying to block things rather than supporting all forms of cycling the governing body looks bad. Hopefully a compromise can be found to let everyone ride and race as often as they like.

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{ 62 comments }

Dieter April 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Would the post-TdF criteriums be “forbidden” too?

The Inner Ring April 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I thought the same but checked and a lot of these are on the national calendars. The Profronde van Surhuisterveen is on the KNWU calendar in the Netherlands, the Aalst criterium on the KBWB calendar in Belgium, Lacq and Lisieux on France’s FFC calendar. But not all of them.

ncrow April 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Leading to the follow up question, why are pros in the top two tiers allowed to participate?

Wal April 9, 2013 at 10:48 am

Given that most of these crits are fixed (and everyone knows it) how does that then sit with other UCI race rules… like collusion?

Anonymous April 12, 2013 at 8:44 am

The UCI has never been involved with a race where open, pre-planned race fixing has decided the result. Especially for monetary reasons. Never, never, never.

Sean Yeager April 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm

This also causes some confusion for those of us in the US who bought UCI licenses to race Worlds this year. I may not do another UCI race in my life, but I have a UCI license for 2013. As a Masters/Cat 3 racer who dabbles in unsanctioned “Monster Cross” events, gran fondos, and mountain bike events, should I and those like me be concerned?

The Inner Ring April 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm

It all depends. In theory yes… but in practice will they really go after everyone. I think the solution is probably to review the rule for pro riders but give amateurs more room.

Dave April 8, 2013 at 8:37 pm

One for the UK Readers: I’ve not seen a response from British Cycling, but a reinstatement of some kind of agreement between them and Cycling Time Trials seems logical (there was one a good few years back, but was scrapped when BC wanted to run a TT championship). If they don’t do something to address this then BC membership could take a big hit.

The Inner Ring April 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I had a reader emailing about this and there seems to be some confusion in Britain here given the big calendar of alternative races. Again it’s probably worth asking if Wiggins should be riding (although why not, it’s harmless, it helps promote more events etc) but why worry about the grass roots aspect doing different races?

Gus April 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Not just time trials. We have races run by the TLI and LVRC. If there’s a man to ask it’s Brian Cookson, BC President and big in the UCI now.

Looking over my shoulder April 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm

BC and RTTC (or whatever they are called now) have ‘an understanding’ between them. For example the BC insurance cover will pay out to members competing in RTTC events but not TLI events.

It doesn’t appear to be formally documented but the rules of each body make reference to the other in some unexpected places (eg you can’t enter a BC race and RTTC race on the same day unless you can logistically start and finish both).

BC are well known for only apply those bits of the UCI technical regulations that suit them so I can’t see anyone in the Ivory Towers in Manchester getting too worried about this.

Al__S April 8, 2013 at 11:09 pm

It appears the National Championships are a joint venture between CTT and BC, so anyone that ONLY enters the National Championships would be OK.

Dave April 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm

But we do have the bizarre situation where riders can compete in time trials for one club, but compete in road races for another.

Folk in Manchester might not be worried; it’s the ones in Aigle folk need to worry about.

Rob April 8, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Another negative side effect is at the grass roots level. We have a weekly MTB “training race” series in Vermont. When her schedule permits, a pro and Olympian is a regular attendee. Her attendance adds to the great “vibe” of the event. Including kids getting excited to see a real pro racing the same course. The UCI is, not shockingly, dead-wrong on this one.

Jim D. April 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Good riddance, I hope they stick to their guns on this rule. So rules of outlaw events stick closer to the original idea of Mtb. Family oriented races and fondos will stay that way. Cx is growing in Oregon with out USA cycling. Cycling will probably grow faster with out the tic-key tack rules of the UCI. So you can do a fondo on a 13 pound bike with the lawyer tabs filed off, but no doping as some fondo’s are doing their own drug testing. I hope that people see that it didn’t work for USSA skiing. and it won’t work here. When mountain biking started it was fun. But when it fell under the UCI umbrella it got all the bad things that came with it. Look at WCSS or WCSSCX way more fun than any UCIWC event. That said organizers need to make sure that cheaters are not allowed IE the Lances, Levis, Christains, Toms, ETC. Maybe they can set up their own races. Clean racers not allowed. Then Lance could race again.Hopefully no press for that. Go away Pat McQ. Jim D.

The Inner Ring April 8, 2013 at 11:14 pm

The UCI can be clumsy but comparable international rules and an agreed anti-doping stance do matter. For me there needs to be flexibility here, to keep the fun and accept people ride their bikes in different ways.

tim April 8, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I have already sent an email to the UCI informing them of my violation of this rule and to be informed of what sanction will be imposed on me.

Skippy April 8, 2013 at 10:23 pm

This week Cycling Ireland are going to be visited by phat mc splat , seeking nomination by them for his 3rd term of president !
Do as i have done , write the Board of Cycling Ireland , ask them to go for Option 3 , an ” EGM ” , calling on the Full Membership to decide his fate ! Let the Swiss have the task of dumping UCI’s blot on humanity .
Paul Kimmage alerted the Swiss Authorities in Nov 2012 , to a variety of ” events “!

Why are we still awaiting their decision to prosecute the ” Aigle tag team duo “?

As to ” rule 1.2.019 ” , is this another example of phat trying to curry favour ?

Andrew April 8, 2013 at 10:24 pm

For the US readers, does this not smell like an antitrust violation? Specifically, it would appear that this effort by the UCI/USA Cycling creates an illegal “tying arrangement” by an incumbent monopolist. Here, USA Cycling/UCI is attempting to penalize license holders/ buyers from purchasing alternative venues/products through a rule which penalizes the licencee/buyer if such licensee purchase an alternative venue/product from a competing provider of alternative venues. To put it another way, UCI/USA Cycling are trying to “tie” licenses granted to riders to only “UCI/USA Cycling sanctioned” events, thereby affecting the market for cycling races (“alterntatives,” if you will). The mere purchase of a license should not force the license holder to forgo other options.

ncrow April 9, 2013 at 12:02 am

Yeah, particularly since a license is a de facto requirement. You can’t be an all encompassing regulatory body while imposing conditions like these.

inopinatus April 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm

I just read the UCI letter – it even goes so far as to say:

“The objective of this regulation is to protect the hard work and resources you pour into the development of your events…”

That’s practically a confession of monopolistic abuse of market power, and quite illegal to do so in many free-market countries, especially when at the expense of a smaller competitor. No doubt the UCI think they aren’t a business; that bicycle racing isn’t an industry. They are wrong; they are in competition with other event organisers.

Looking forward to the anti-trust case. These arrogant buffoons deserve every kicking they can possibly receive.

Nick April 10, 2013 at 7:03 am

I don’t think anti-trust means what you think it it does.

In the US, anti-trust law almost, kind of, sorta doesn’t apply *unless* the entity has monopoly power. The UCI demonstrably doesn’t have that (there mere fact that there are non-UCI races proves that).

I’m not sure, but restraint-of-trade laws (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restraint_of_trade) may be applicable, especially for Pros. In particular, this seems analogous to non-compete clauses in employment contracts. These clauses are null & void in some US stages (notably California) but legal in some circumstances others.

channel_zero April 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Check out the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. Essentially, USOC-blessed sports have been granted a monopoly like MLB and NFL.

What’s needed is quite a bit of money to find a method to nullify this newly enforced rule in court and a good test case. Time and money is two thing USA Cycling has.

Skippy April 8, 2013 at 10:30 pm
Chrisman April 8, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Perhaps this rule is more aimed at the bigger riders. You mentioned a race in Dubai – there may well be big money in match-racing for billionaires. I’m sure they find cycling hilarious. Why not do more of these races? Why not arrange a whole series – televised by Al-Jazeera, covered (inevitably) by Phil Ligget and Prince Khalid ‘Cheeky Monkey’ Mansoor. Supermoney.

Seriously though, is this not an attempt by UCI to foreshadow riders saying ‘this is terribly run and promoted, I could do better’ and actually starting to do it? It might be a strange analogy but it happened to Darts in the early 90s. Players initially wanted to just run a few separate tournaments, but eventually it led to a complete splinter, where the elite players formed a new organization designed to cater to their echelon on the game. Are Pro Cyclists or more specifically the teams happy with the UCI? Does any of this make any sense?

The Inner Ring April 8, 2013 at 11:16 pm

The rules say “all licence holders” so big or small… it’s equal for all. But as we’ve seen before pros have been warned about the rules by USA Cycling but nobody else was bothered.

Nick April 8, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Is this move to start enforcing the rule a step to try and block riders from participating in the breakway league that seems to continue quietly building its foundation?

The Inner Ring April 8, 2013 at 11:18 pm

I don’t think so, it’s more the UCI is saying this applies to everyone rather than a warning shot across the bows. If anything the UCI is now working closely with the “breakaway league” although the project is stalling without the Tour de France company ASO on board.

Logan April 8, 2013 at 11:26 pm

This would have a big effect on MarathonMTB races in Australia where there is only one race a year currently that is Cycling Australia sanctioned and that is the National Champs, but that is changing with a new series coming up but still nearly all the races are Non CA events.

Nearly all MTB’s will hold a license to do club XC, so they could potentially be excluded from all of these private promoter races… I know a lot of people would just not bother with a MTB license if that was the case.

Obviously this would also effect the Bay Crits in a big way, which is really detrimental to the NRS teams here in Australia as they get a chance to race against pro’s. I think the Sun Tour is a 2.2 UCI race if I recall.

sillyoldbugger April 10, 2013 at 4:32 am

The Bay Crits are a fully CA sanctioned event.

The Inner Ring April 10, 2013 at 8:47 am

The Bay Crits are different, they’re on the CA calendar but have not been on the UCI Criterium Calendar, meaning pros are not allowed to ride:
http://inrng.com/2011/12/uci-criterium-calendar/

NigeliF April 9, 2013 at 12:05 am

The definition of the ruling being used to prevent riders in the US riding so many other independent races absolutely stinks and can only have the effect of bullying these races out of the calendar and business.
At a time when the UCI should be doing more to increase its membership through positive actions, it seems its more concerned with banning riders for independence and the same to the organisers.

If you run a non-sanctioned race, full to the brim of non UCI riders having fun, why on earth would you ever want to promote the UCI to them now?
Little, if anything, was being done in the past but there is no way anyone will want to do so now.

All these independent évents and races, should be proactively encouraged to join the UCI with benefits being promoted to increase uptake, both for organiser and entrant.

I attend races in the UK weekly and have yet to hear an organiser happy with the levies applied to this entrants fee’s as part of a sanctioned event. Not one could list the reasons why they are paying this money ontop of the entrants licence fees and non see what value they get for their event or for their entrants.

Organisers struggle to provide safety improvements required by local Police for example, non of which is funded by the federation. Promotion is limited to just a website but no press officer doing anything above that. Its pretty much all left to the organiser themselves to fund and support.

Where in any of this, does it proactively promote sanctioned events as a benefit to anyone but the UCI?

If I entered a cycling event in the UK for the first time, Id not even be aware of the UCI or its rules, features and benefits….and never its sanctions like this.
Good bloody job really, as otherwise Id never join.

BC is doing a fantastic job of promoting membership to the average joe looking to dip their toes in the murky waters of cycle sport. Shame the UCI is polluting those waters even more.

This ones for Federations to challenge, we may just need to give them a good reason to challenge it to their strength.

lucky April 9, 2013 at 2:06 am

UCI really focusing on the things that matter

belldog April 9, 2013 at 2:25 am

What is the definition of an “unsanctioned event”? Local TT? Charity ride with timed sections? Local triathlon?

Xris April 9, 2013 at 2:56 am

I think this would be another backing factor for those wishing to form an independent cycling union. One that possibly takes these inconsistencies into consideration when dictating rules and regulations. As was mentioned in the previous article, it does end up hurting some races as well as attendance. Who doesn’t want the chance to see pro level racing in their home town?

Touriste-Routier April 9, 2013 at 3:51 am

The legalities of this are highly questionable, as is the ability of the UCI member federation authorities to enforce it (they barely have the facilities to do what the currently do).

However, should no one deem themselves brave enough, nor want to invest their resources to legally contest it, there are viable alternatives. Many of these unauthorized events could acquire the proper official sanction, if they wanted to.

I say this as an organizer of many unsanctioned events (mostly gran fondos and cyclosportives). I typically have made the decision not to go the UCI/USAC route because there wasn’t any value add for me or my participants; I typically get better insurance for less cost elsewhere, I don’t have the hassles of arcane or inane rules/officials, and my lack of official sanction (to now) has not effected my participants. However, if this rule is to be widely enforced I might have to consider towing the line, which will directly increase our entry fees.

The member federations can help this situation by being more customer friendly (why do I need 2 licensed officials to hold a roller race for 20 contestants. and can you lower the 1 day membership license to less than $5?), and more competitive in terms of administrative costs and offerings. Sure rules should be fairly uniform, but lets not kill the sport, particularly at the grass roots level through administrative bureaucracy.

One of the great things about the alternate federations, is that without the need to fund a national team or organize national championships, they can focus on developing the sport at a grass roots level, something many of them are rather adept at. Perhaps the sport would be best served by having the UCI and their member federations focus on the elite level, and have strategic alliances that bring the grass roots under a larger umbrella, rather than trying to micro manage everything.

cthulhu April 9, 2013 at 9:39 am

I wonder what this fuzz is about?
The rule is pretty clear and as far as I know has been always interpreted this way. The UCI or it’s national members not always noticing or sanctioning this breach is something differently. Here in the region Belgium/Netherlands/Germany, we know some of the cycling federations are not members of the UCI and if they spot or notice us racing some of these races, we know that result is a two to four week ban for us lowly amateurs. And that has happened, as silly as it might sound.

If somebody would challenge this rule in general, that would be something else, but to ask for a clarification, in this case just somebody to read out the rules to you, and point out that everybody is breaking the rules please look now more closely is not a very smart move, nor do I understand all the raging about a rule that has, as far as I know, always been in place.

The Inner Ring April 9, 2013 at 10:26 am

The point is that the rule has long been in place but it’s only being enforced now. In Belgium it’s applied to the “beloften” and pros but lower down it seems it was not applied. If it’s going to be applied suddenly it means a big change for people in some countries.

SB April 9, 2013 at 11:59 am

might be a daft question; what about sportive rides and reliability trials?? the rule says ‘events’, and therefore could include things other than races?

The Inner Ring April 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

That’s unsure. Like I say above it’s under the heading “forbidden races” in the rulebook but the actual rule says “events” and there’s no indication what this defines. Presumably they won’t go after cycle tourists doing a “brevet” but there’s a fine line between racing and riding in many grand fondo / cyclosport events in France.

Michael and Marijana Stechow April 9, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I wrote my other comment before I saw this, but my legal training draws me to the word “presumably.” It appears that it is the UCI and national federations that are reserving for themselves the right of presumption on what defines an “event”. This would mean that I, as an individual, or any other body outside of the UCI, could not have any presumption that ANY cycling is independent of UCI sanctioning – that presumption is for them to decide as they may. Legally, this can be challenged. If they claim authority, it must be specific and clearly defined. All lawyers know this, but those trained in the civil law systems, such as Switzerland, should really know better.

Michael and Marijana Stechow April 9, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Define “Event.” While non-sanctioned racing series would easily fall under this rule clarification, granfondo type events run the gamut from timed races to untimed events without even one start/finish line [a la Sella Ronda]. How about Critical Mass? Or RAAM, RAGBRAI, BRAG, BRAT, and other similar rides? Charity/Health Awareness rides? Bike tours? Weekend club ride? Commute to work?
Where is the line drawn before it gets ridiculous? Does the UCI or federations want the right to decide whether to invoke their ‘rule’ or not ad hoc, as they wish? Then following the logic, they have a presumption of their own authority every time someone slings a leg over the saddle, and we just have to hope that they don’t perceive that particular ride as a threat.
Bite me!

inopinatus April 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm

If this actually happens in Australia, complain to the federal competition regulator – the ACCC.

Why? Because the UCI (via their agent, Cycling Australia) has monopoly power over the bicycle racing industry. Moving to exclude races/events operated by their competitors is a prima facie abuse of market power.

They wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. And yes, bicycle racing is an industry – you pay to enter and receive access to an event; it’s quite a simple commercial exchange.

Dave April 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

If the UCI find out I bagged a Strava KoM at the weekend then my future is in tatters.

Adrian de Nijs April 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm

The FINA did the same with the race Armstrong wanted to participate in last week. At first he could, because the organization didn’t enforce the WADA rules, but the FINA said that they must, so he could not participate.

hamncheeze April 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Another factor in the UCI’s statements regarding non-sanctioned events relates to the recent rise in popularity of the Gran Fondo in North America. The UCI is also trying to cash in on the Gran Fondo scene with its World Cycling Tour events: http://www.uciworldcyclingtour.com/

By threatening amateur and Masters racers with fines/suspensions for participating in non-UCI affiliated events the UCI is also trying to promote attendance at its own events.

The Inner Ring April 9, 2013 at 9:19 pm

As pointed above by Touriste Routier this could just send people away. Or in Italy people pay a small extra for the ride and get a one day membership of the federation.

russ April 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm

My take on it (I’m from a MTB background) is that the UCI are feeling threatened by the new enduro world series that has attracted lots of top riders and sponsorship and has set up its own association and banning riders is the only way they can try and keep control of mtb

The Inner Ring April 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Well the rule has existed for time. One conspiracy theory says that USA Cycling have told the UCI to tell them that the rule must be enforced. In other words that USA Cycling is the one worried about these rival events but it’s easier to get the UCI to play the bad cop. Make of it what you will, this could be baloney.

Certainly it’s causing concern in the US but as pointed out above, if the rule applied equally everywhere then it could impact many other races… at least until someone challenges the rule in court because there’s a good chance it is contrary to free association and choice for leisure activities although it could be argued it’s right for the pros because it is work.

Anonymous April 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm

The pros don’t work for the UCI. I don’t see how the UCI can tell them, or me, what to do outside their own races. They can sanction someone for wearing too long socks in a race, but not for wearing a leisure suit on a day off.

David April 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Of course they can – within the context of their own organisation. For example, if I run a club of which you are a member, I can’t tell you what you can or can’t do outside of the club, but I can say that if you do certain things, you will no longer be a member of the club, or you will have to pay more to attend events at my club, or many other sanctions. I’m not telling you want you can do, I’m just saying that if you do those things, I can respond with sanctions within the scope of my organisation.

Which is what the UCI have done here

The Inner Ring April 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Which is why I could see this working for the pros but it’s going to be hard for amateurs to be forced to comply. See the Swedish precedent on Monday’s piece and there have been others too.

Patterson_hood April 9, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Surely this is the UCI overstepping the boundaries of it’s power. Shouldn’t it should be up to the teams management what races they ride?

I can kind of have sympathy for it if people are setting up big money races and the UCI are losing riders hand over fist. But that isn’t happening and isn’t going to happen. I think a re-working of the rue banning pro riders from riding in races with prize money may be fairer (although I’d still not be happy about it) and leave the amateurs out of it.

Do these rules exist in many other sports? For instance, does FIFA stop Messi from playing in a charity match organised by a local hospital? Or is this an exception rather than a general rule? (I notice darts has been mentioned above).

LWK April 10, 2013 at 5:54 am

Innrg – love your blog but I have to say your ongoing even-handed commentary on the UCI even while you continue to point out all their foolishness and inconsistencies is amazing (in a good way, I suppose).

Your comments on “why” are understandable but I would mainly disagree. I dont think an independent event (or series) undermines local/national bodies – if done well it should even help them. Second, if I am going to run an event, I would think I would want to, a) at least break even, b) make sure everyone had a good time so they come back next year, and c) make damn sure I do everything reasonable to ensure no one gets hurt and contingencies are in place. Pretty sure I could do this without “UCI rules”.

The practicalities of enforcing something like this are also daunting (to the point of laughable) once you get past trying to make an example of a few high profile riders. Is the UCI really going to troll thru the results lists of every non-sanctioned event, x-reference with license lists, mail out letters, follow up letters, final “conviction” letters, and then attempt to collect payment, etc, etc?!… Innrg has given us many examples of bizarre UCI rules, enforced selectively, add this nonsense to the list.

Finally, as you and others mention, the UCI is also in the (conflict of interest) business of promoting its own races and this seems likely in sad response to recent MTB racing developments (enduro and other). Competition is good for racing; its also good for business – including hosting/promoting bike races.

I am going to race calendar and non-sanctioned road, CX and MTB races this year and am eagerly looking forward to my “fines”!

Keep up the good work, best daily cycling read, bar none.

Touriste-Routier April 10, 2013 at 6:21 am

The irony of all of this is that Pat McQuaid, when he was an athlete (yes, the man was an accomplished competitor), was suspended for competing in an unauthorized race!

For those that do not know, in 1975, he, his brother Kieron, and Sean Kelly (among riders from other nations) violated the international ban of athletes competing in South Africa (a global political-sporting protest against apartheid). They competed under false names in the Rapport Toer, were caught, suspended for 6 months, and were banned from competing in the Olympics for life.

As an event organizer, I would never suggest or condone that someone follow his example, but I would chuckle heartily if I saw a number of people named “Pat McQuaid” on my registration lists…

pat de bruyn April 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I remember a few GF in Belgium where so called licensed amature racers(elite without contract) raced but passed the finishline aside the road so they weren’t in the result list. They did it to escape this rule.
By participating they had a wonderfull training and they were getting race rithme. These GF were “Dwars door België, the Eddy Merckx, La Magnifique,…
So this is allready a long time issue

regards

pdmalcolm April 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Do my clubs confined TTs count?

pdmalcolm April 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Or the Flanders sportif? La Marmotte? I’m in a world of trouble. I may need to skip the counry.

channel_zero April 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm

In the U.S? Yes. They are clear about this. In fact, USAC has an event permit just for this purpose.

Skippy April 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

Sadly UCI is run by a chump that is best described by Paul Kimmage’s recent tweet :
Paul Kimmage ‏@PaulKimmage 9h
http://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/cycling-ireland-board-set-for-crunch-talks-on-pat-mcquaid-in-dublin-on-friday/ … Crunch meeting? You must be joking. McQuaid is an embarrassment to our country and to our sport.

Further tweets :

Paul Kimmage ‏@PaulKimmage 9h
To the board of @IreCyclingFed This is a five second debate. If you stand for McQuaid, you stand for nothing.

Paul Kimmage ‏@PaulKimmage 49m
No surprise that McQuaid declined to speak to @SSbike

AS mentioned previously , FRiday , TOMORROW ; Cycling Ireland are deciding about ” Nominating phat mc splat !

EMAIL ALL Board MEMBERS ; TODAY !

http://www.cyclingireland.ie/Home/Contact-Cycling-Ireland.aspx

Only sheer weight of NUMBERS , will convince them that they need to EITHER ,

REfuse to nominate

OR

Hold an ” Extraordinary General Meeting , so that the Membership , can VOICE their opinion on that NOMINATION !

With ” Rule 1.2.019 ” , fresh in their minds , there could ONLY be one result !

Skippy April 11, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Latest from ” UCI “!

Backsliding to help phat with Cycling Ireland , tomorrow ?

http://www.uci.ch/Modules/ENews/ENewsDetails2011.asp?id=OTE5OQ

laurie April 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm

I am curious about this rule in canada, because the local club races have always (twenty years I have been involved) been unsanctioned events, but recently you have been required to have a license from the provincial/national/uci cycling board for insurance purposes. So isn’t this going against what they are saying because if I take out a license I can’t compete, but if I don’t have one i can’t compete? Riddle me this.

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