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.
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.
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