In an article released on VeloNews, Jason Sumner brings to light a rather shocking, often overlooked rule that essentially says professional riders cannot participate in races that are not sanctioned by either the UCI or USA Cycling (or an equivalent national federation). Maybe shocking isn't the right term, though. It does seem in line with the organization's history.

The article goes on to state that, after competing in (and winning) the Teva Games, Tom Danielson, Georgia Gould and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski received the following notification:

“Dear Pro Mountain Bikers: It has come to our attention that you participated in the 2012 Teva Games in a MTB discipline. This event is not sanctioned by USA Cycling. As such, a professional rider on a UCI team may not participate in it, according to UCI rule 1.2.019. The penalty for not following that rule is a fine of 50-100 Swiss francs and a one-month suspension. As this is the first documented and reported case of this in your collective instances, we will not be proceeding with any suspensions, and are choosing the low end of the fine spectrum. Therefore, please consider this your notice that you were fined. I shall leave it up to you and your teams to decide who wants to pay.”

Regardless of who was driving enforcement, the message seemed clear: What for years had been an overlooked rule in the UCI’s book was now having an increasingly profound impact on both U.S.-based pro cyclists and the pro-am events, unaffiliated with USA Cycling, that dot the North American bike racing landscape.

Sadly, the 2005 Single Slalom World Champs slogan still applies today. - Photo: Amado Stachenfeld

While the article's primary focus is cyclocross and cross-country events, the same holds true for gravity events. So the world's best are to be barred from attending the Teva Games, Fontana, Oregon Enduros, Winter Park's local series, or even Crankworx for that matter? Really? That makes about as much sense as banning POV cameras. Oh wait...

What's the bottom line here? The dolla dolla bills, ya'll. Every pro racer on a UCI team will now be "forced to choose between racing sanctioned and non-sanctioned events with the risk of being fined, suspended and even losing their UCI licenses." That's just silly, and it certainly isn't growing our sport. Consider this when figuring out which events to attend in 2013.

Don't miss the full article - Analysis: Is USAC feeding grass roots, or trampling them?

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  • bturman

    3/22/2013 1:52 PM

    To all the Pros (and upcoming amateurs alike) that would like to compete in both UCI or USA Cycling sanctioned and non-sanctioned events, please consider signing this petition -

  • Mike Buell

    1/28/2013 1:31 PM

    I would absolutely love not buying a USAC license this year... As of now with the Enduro Schedule being non-sanctioned the only sanctioned race on my radar is Angel Fire National Champs... I'm assuming the Winter Park and other local Colorado DH races will be non-sanctioned. If nothing else gets added, it might be an easy decision to make. Would be fun to write USAC an email explaining why I'm not buying a license for the first time in 10 years! Been wanting to do that for a while now!

  • dgodard

    1/3/2013 5:02 PM

    USAC is dumb. The other USAC that of cars tried this back before the '79 Indy 500. Back then that USAC was so lame the car owners broke away and started CART. Anyway that USAC tried to ban all teams involved with CART from entering the 500. The teams took them to court siting anti trust laws and restraint of trade and an injunction was issued. Basically, what that means is USACycling cannot legally keep you from racing other events at the professional level under US law anyways.

  • Balfaboy

    1/2/2013 6:46 PM

    I'm pretty much done with UCI events. After years and years of giving them money they still dont really give back to the sport. Bring on fondos for road, enduro instead of XC and fesitvals for DH.

  • kenjisugahara

    1/2/2013 8:15 PM

    Or come race with OBRA! USAC is being super lame-o.

  • More Cowbell

    1/2/2013 6:08 PM

    only here for the girl.

  • kellyllek

    1/2/2013 8:41 AM

    The USAC/UCI should change this rule immediately. I've mentioned this to pro riders before and they had no idea about it. A top XC rider told me he specifically has not applied for a pro license because of this rule. It's ridiculous, especially for marathon events as the UCAC only has sanctioned 5 events for 2013! And not a single one of them them is located east of the Mississippi! Not only that, but I've heard that the USAC will consider 'other' events when you apply for a pro licence as a marathon mountain biker. It makes no sense at all, and one of the reasons I won't be applying for a pro license this year either.

  • b-slice

    1/2/2013 7:37 AM

    I'll admit it. Im here because of the Girl.

  • b-slice

    1/2/2013 7:37 AM

    AND NORBA sucks.

  • Scott_Townes

    1/2/2013 7:04 AM

    Sooo the UCI only cares about their organization and they don't care if their rules hurts the athletes and/or the mtb industry as a whole... business as usual.

  • kev.1n

    1/1/2013 9:10 PM

    I always wanted to pursue racing, one day make it to the world cups, become a hell of a racer. this makes me want to say fuck that and take up freeriding

  • Dave Waugh

    1/1/2013 9:05 PM

    The UCI does not give a rats about "growing the sport" the be all and end all of the UCI modus operandi is to achieve and retain total control over all cycling no matter what.
    Frankly it is an ethically corrupt, morally bankrupt organization on one hell of a power trip!

  • straightshot

    1/1/2013 5:58 PM

    Complete fark-tards! Lets make it as difficult as possible for this fantastic sport to grow.

  • Daniel_Goss

    1/1/2013 5:16 PM

    I may not be on a UCI team, but I've broken that rule many times, and I know many others, including Sam Hill and Sabrina Jonnier, that have been @ unsanctioned events that I was. Noone ever 'suspended' me, or them. Some of the best events in the U.S. are unsanctioned, this is BULLSHIT!


    1/1/2013 6:13 PM

    Yes, that is what I think...its pretty complex to keep track of everybody, I believe this rule coming into force is due by the fact of too many big competitions, so the federation is not gaining nothing off it since they are not that is why now they will be chasing riders....

  • jerryhazard

    1/1/2013 4:36 PM

    Bass -Ackwards... it SHOULD be a privilege to have the pros race for a sanctioning body, Instead, they try to make it privilege for them join/race within that spectrum. Didn't the Enduro community come up with a non-UCI solution?


    1/1/2013 4:26 PM

    Well, for how long have being overlooked..? In our country once you registered in our cyclin federation, you are warn that you cannot take part in any race that is not sanctioned by our federation, thing is, our Federation cannot control everysingle rider, so, you every now and then see a "pro" or licensed rider taking part of a "pirate race" as they call them here.... The rider can also be fine by it, and prohibited to race any national race, couple years ago, La Ruta de los Conquistadores, one of the most respected XCM stage races in the world, got this complication applied to the nationals, and most of the pro-federated national racers and some internationals did not compete....that open a hell of discussions in our country about this....what happened??? there is no choice until there is something different than the La Ruta had to paid the fees to get this sanctioned and get the Pro riders waive to, to me, its either get used to, or don't federate, those competitions that are not sanctioned eventually must have...look at the Crankworx events and other freeride events, we all have not the the Enduro is coming, everything for the sponsors to put the money, eventually will have to get this....

  • sideshow

    1/1/2013 3:56 PM

    I own one of these shirts for good reason.

  • filthyanimal

    1/1/2013 3:49 PM

    What's really sad is that I'm not at all surprised by this. Are you?

  • mtbmtbmtb

    1/1/2013 3:48 PM

    haha yeah... like i'd pay that fine

  • Spencer_DelaLuna

    1/1/2013 3:46 PM

    Organized racing just needs to shrivel and die.

  • Logic

    1/1/2013 3:44 PM

    I'll ride wherever and however I want, thank you.

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