Can you push a team mate during a road race? Take a spare wheel from another rider? Take part in a local gran fondo? Draft a rival squad during a team time trial? Readers regularly email or tweet questions about the regulations and so here’s a quick review and update the list of dos and don’ts.
Racing might be “200 idiots trying to cross a line first” in the words of Marzio Bruseghin but there are a rules behind the dash and that’s before we touch on the unwritten or societal rules of the peloton. In fact there are a lot of rules and it’s impossible to remember them all, they take enough enough space on a hard drive let alone your own memory so here is a handy, updated reference.
The the UCI rules are on the UCI’s website and Chapters 1, 2 and 12 apply. Chapters 1 and 2 set out the rules and Chapter 12 lets you look up the applicable penalty.
1.1.002: remember to renew your racing licence every year
1.1.042: if you ride for a pro team you need their permission to enter a race solo
1.2.019: you can’t take part in a race that’s not on the calendar of the UCI or a member federation
1.2.022: if you’re suspended, you’re not allowed to enter zones at races closed to the public
1.2.030: no betting on the sport
1.2.047: if you start a race it is assumed you have read the roadbook and race manual
1.2.063: don’t blame the UCI for potholes and other defects on the course
1.2.064: study the route before the race and stick to it, a hop on a cycle path could get you in trouble
1.2.079: don’t be violent or take actions to harm the image of the sport.
1.2.080: be sporting
1.2.082: you may be held responsible for the accidents you cause
1.2.083: don’t carry glass containers
1.2.108: complete the course under your own steam
1.2.109: you can cross the finish line on foot as long as you have your bike with you
1.2.112: if you win a prize or an award you must attend the podium ceremony and press conference
1.2.113: wear your team kit on the podium
1.3.001: have a safe bike that meets the UCI rules
1.3.026: wear shorts and shorts sleeves, no sleeveless tops allowed
1.3.030: your rain jacket has to be transparent or matching the team kit
1.3.031: wear a helmet
1.3.033: you can’t wear non-essential items for performance gains like compression socks
1.3.034: wear only your approved team kit in a race
1.3.054: if you have a leader’s jersey you may wear custom matching shorts
1.3.055: if you have a leader’s jersey and the race doesn’t provide a skinsuit for a TT you may wear your own team issue skinsuit
1.3.077: don’t alter or cut your race number before pinning it
1.3.080: remove your race number if you drop out of a race
2.2.008: get approval or check before riding a gran fondo even if it’s on the UCI calendar
2.2.010: you can be excluded from a race but have the right to a hearing
2.2.024: race radios are only for World Tour, .HC and .1 road races and time trials
2.2.025: don’t litter, use the waste zones if provided
2.2.026: wear two race numbers for a road race, one is fine for a time trial
2.2.027: have your number on your bike too
2.2.030: if you’ve quit the race don’t cross the finish line. Use the broom wagon unless you’re ill or injured
2.3.009: show up in time for the race and be sure sign on or you risk disqualification
2.3.012: you can share a bottle, food or even tools with someone from another team during a race but never give them a wheel or your bike
2.3.012: you can’t push a rider, whether they are a team mate or a rival. No hand-slings either
2.3.014: if you’re lapped on a finishing circuit don’t interfere with the race, for example you can’t wait for the bunch to come around and then lead out your sprinter
2.3.026: you collect food bags or get a wheel change on the side of the road where the locals drive, eg on the right in Belgium or Italy, on the left in Britain or Australia
2.3.027: normally you can’t take food on climbs and descents and neither in the first 50km nor the last 20km
2.3.029: you’re only allowed mechanical help from your team, the neutral service or the broom wagon
2.3.030: in the event of a mechanical, don’t hang on to the team car but stop by the side of the road
2.3.034: you must stop at level crossing if the gates are closing or closed or even if the lights are flashing and/or the bell is ringing
2.3.036: sprint straight and don’t endanger others
2.3.039: the time cut is normally 8% but may vary, you must check the race roadbook
2.3.040: if you finish in a group you’ll all be credited with the same time
2.4.018: if you catch a rider in a time trial you must pass by at least two metres. If caught, ride to the side by at least two metres and drop back, within 1km of being caught you must be at least 25 metres behind
2.5.015: a team caught during a team time trial must pull over and drop back
2.5.018: riders can’t push each other during a team time trial
2.6.006: if you crash out of a prologue and do not finish it you can still start the stage the next day, you will be given the same time as the slowest rider in the prologue
2.6.018: if you’re leading a jersey competition in a stage race you should wear the jersey. If you have won several jerseys then the priority is: overall leader > points > mountains > other (eg young rider, combined etc).
2.6.026: if you drop out of a stage race normally you can’t resume racing elsewhere until that stage race is over
2.6.027: the three kilometre rule usually applies with three kilometres to go but is often waived for uphill finishes so check
That’s it, follow these summary guidelines and you’re good to go. The penalties for infringing these rules vary from a gentle slap on the wrist to disqualification and if you want to know what the price is then the Chapter 12 of the UCI regulation lists the tariffs (PDF).
So far, so black and white but because a bike race is a huge convoy in the countryside the officials can’t be everywhere so “don’t get caught” can apply, even if video evidence can and will be used after a race if necessary. Another is “safety in numbers” where a lone rider hopping onto a cycle path risks trouble but if 50 riders do it then it may be tolerated, the same when a large group misses the time cut in a stage race.
Tomorrow a look at the unwritten rules.