In a previous article, we brought to light a rarely enforced rule that (we thought) stated that professional riders on UCI teams cannot participate in non-UCI or non-USA Cycling sanctioned races. Today, UCI overlord Pat McQuaid and USAC responded with a clarification of UCI Rule 1.2.019 and related sanctions. We were wrong. ALL UCI-LICENSED RIDERS are subject to this rule, which includes all USAC licensed Pros. The penalty for not following the rule is a fine of 50-100 Swiss francs and a one-month suspension.

Every Pro racer will now have to choose between racing sanctioned and non-sanctioned events. A violation could mean being fined, suspended, or even the revocation of their UCI licenses. This means all Pro athletes that choose to hold a UCI license are to be barred from attending events like the Enduro World Series,  Teva Games, Downieville, Whiskey 50, Fontana, Oregon Enduros, Winter Park's local series, Breck Epic, Firecracker, or even Crankworx for that matter.

This isn't a compromise. This is worse for our sport than we first believed. It's essentially a declaration of war against promoters who choose not to sanction their events with USAC or the UCI, and it's severely limiting the income and livelihood of Pro riders. Guess what though? It may be a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prohibits certain anticompetitive conduct and was ironically put into place to protect the public from the failure of the market. Is that how you'd like this to end, Pat?

We strongly encourage everyone, regardless of their tie to racing (fans, family, racers, etc), to sign this petition that calls for the abolishment of UCI rule 1.2.019, and to consider the enforcement of this rule before purchasing a 2013 USA Cycling or UCI license. This is NOT growing the sport.

What follows is the full response from USAC/UCI:

Clarification of UCI Rule 1.2.019 and related sanctions

To: USA Cycling Members

RE: UCI Rule 1.2.019

There has been a tremendous amount of discussion and misinformation recently in articles and forums regarding UCI rule 1.2.019, which prohibits all UCI licensed riders from competing in events that are not sanctioned by a national federation. USA Cycling received the following letter from the International Cycling Union (UCI) on March 26 to all national federations clarifying its expectations in the enforcement of rule 1.2.019.  It also explains what the few possible exceptions to its rule are.

The UCI confirmed that Rule 1.2.019 and the related sanctions in 1.2.020 and 1.2.021 must apply to every UCI-recognized national federation in the world. Therefore, as a member of the International Federation, USA Cycling will comply with the direction from the UCI.

To all National Federations

26 March 2013

Dear President,

It has recently come to our attention that some National Federations are experiencing difficulties in the interpretation and  application of  the rules relating  to "forbidden races",  namely  Articles 1.2.019,

1.2.020 and 1.2.021 of the UCI Regulations.

With this in mind, we would like to provide the following clarification which we hope you will find useful. Article 1.2.019 of the UCI Regulations states

"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."

The objective of this regulation is to protect the hard work and resources you pour into the development of your events at national level. It allows for a federative structure,  something which is inherent in organised sport and which is essential to being a part of the Olympic movement.

Of course the regulation also allows the UCI, in line with its mission as an international federation, to guarantee uniform regulation.

Article 1.2.019 applies to all licence 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.

The second paragraph of Article 1.2.019 affords each national federation the facility to grant a special exception for specific races or events taking place in its territory.

Special races or events are understood to be cycle events which are not registered on the national calendar of the country's federation or on the UCI international calendar. This generally concerns events that are occasional and which do not recur, most often organised by persons or entities who do not belong to the world of organised sport. For example, an event may be organised by an association that does not have a link to the National Federation, such as a race specifically for members of the armed forces, fire fighters or students or perhaps as part of a national multisport event.

With the exception of these special cases, the National Federation is not permitted to grant an exemption to a cycle event which is held, deliberately or not, outside the federative movement. For example, in no case should an exception be granted to a cycling event that is organised by a person or entity who regularly organises cycling events.

The objective of Article 1.2.019 is that exemptions should only be granted in exceptional cases.

Licence holders who participate in a "forbidden race" make themselves liable not only to sanctions  by their National Federation, as scheduled by Article 1.2.021 of the UCI regulations,  but also run the risk of not having sufficient insurance cover in the event of an accident.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please accept our kindest regards,

Pat McQuaid


Clarification on Affected Riders:

The letter from the UCI confirms no UCI licensed rider, in any discipline, may participate in an event not sanctioned by a national federation recognized by the UCI (USA Cycling is the sole national federation in the United States). Originally, this was described as only affecting those UCI-licensed riders on UCI teams. The UCI has subsequently clarified that the rule extends to ALL UCI-licensed riders, even those not associated with a UCI team.

USA Cycling Working to Ease the Transition:

USA Cycling understands the fact that this rule enforcement has a far-reaching impact on riders and race directors alike, particularly in the mountain bike discipline. To help manage the impact and assist riders and race directors with the transition, USA Cycling will work with non-sanctioned mountain bike events by providing the following for mountain bike events permitted with USA Cycling after April 1, 2013:

For any mountain bike event that occurred in 2012, but did not sanction with USA Cycling in 2012, USA Cycling will waive the permit fee (2013 only). USA Cycling will also subsidize $1 of the $3 dollar per rider insurance surcharge. The per-rider insurance surcharge for mountain bike events that occurred in 2012 but were not permitted in 2012 will be $2 per rider (2013 only).

What a USA Cycling Event Permit Provides for Race Promoters:

Low permit fees. A mountain bike race of less than 500 riders has a maximum permit fee of $100 a day. The only other fee USA Cycling collects is a per-rider insurance charge of $3 which covers one of the most robust insurance packages in cycling for the race director, the landowners, the sponsors, and excess accident medical coverage for participants. Comparable insurance coverage cost per rider is much more expensive.

Racing infrastructure for a safe and level playing field including anti-doping, rules and trained officials. As the only USOC and UCI recognized cycling organization in the U.S., riders in USA Cycling events can be subject to the groundbreaking USA Cycling RaceClean™ anti-doping program to create a level playing field.

Access to USA Cycling's online registration system that allows riders to register for events and sign electronic waivers on the USA Cycling website or by using the USA Cycling smartphone app.

A $0.40 rebate to race directors for each registration when you use USA Cycling’s online registration system.

Why you Should Support USA Cycling Sanctioned Events:

USA Cycling spends more than $4 million per year supporting American athletes in development and international competition programs. Much of that money is generated from the racing activities of our more than 74,000 members racing more than 600,000 racing days each year in sanctioned events. Every time you race in a sanctioned event, a small amount of revenue is generated to support critical athlete programs.  Most importantly, virtually every dime USA Cycling generates as a result of your racing activities is reinvested in the sport.  However, when you compete in an unsanctioned event, nothing goes to support these important programs that help to maintain our international success and create the heroes and role models that are so important to the sport.

In 2012, USA Cycling spent more than $530,000 in support of mountain bike development programs, world championships and pre-Olympic camps to help riders achieve their dreams on the world's biggest stages.

Professionally-licensed riders are the direct beneficiaries of USA Cycling's significant investment in athlete support. As such, they have a vested interest to support the sanctioned events that fuel that support.

Insurance protection at sanctioned events is some of the best available and provides coverage not only for the race directors, but also for the volunteers and officials working the event, as well as the racers themselves. At unsanctioned events, there is no guarantee that the insurance provides adequate coverage to anyone other than the race owner. Most unsanctioned events will claim they have comparable overall insurance coverage for their event when compared to what USA Cycling’s insurance program provides, but our own research and analysis have shown that is just not the case.

Sanctioned events provide a safe and level playing field by a consistent standard  for athlete protection such as accident insurance, an enforceable code of conduct and USA Cycling's RaceClean™ anti-doping controls conducted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Sanctioned events provide licensed participants with the opportunity to be part of the USA Cycling National Results and Ranking System that allows you to compare your results to everyone else in your age group by city, state, region or even nationally.

What are your thoughts? Weigh in on the issue below, and don't forget to sign the petition.

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  • taletotell

    12/31/2013 9:25 AM

    Down with UCI!

  • sspomer

    4/9/2013 4:37 PM

    We've got a Vital forum post celebrating those taking a stand against the UCI! Chime in with your thoughts here -,2/The-UCI-The-Empire-Strikes-Back,7045

  • glucia805

    4/9/2013 10:16 AM

    Sho-Air/Cannondale XC team firing a shot at USAC, they're sending there whole team to the Whiskey 50 and putting out a press release calling out USAC.

  • Canadian Dirt

    4/9/2013 7:18 AM

    Join the resistance! Bikers Unite!

  • JMHV

    4/8/2013 12:01 PM

    Yeah agreed. That's what I was trying to say, they have leverage over XC and Road because the UCI is the gateway to the Olympics. But for Gravity and other disciplines, they have nothing to threaten with. DH and Enduro can (and should) walk away.

  • glucia805

    4/8/2013 12:10 PM

    They don't even really have leverage over that world either. The Teams are pissed, the riders are pissed....I think it's coming to a head even on that end of things. Very few riders have a shot at a national team or the Olympics, they just want to make a living and ride their bikes like most of us.

  • JMHV

    4/8/2013 12:16 PM

    But the UCI is the IOC-recognized sanctioning organization. So yeah, the UCI is a bunch of idiots but they DO hold the keys a bit tighter in the world of XC and especially Road whether the riders and teams are upset or not. Not to say the the UCI couldn't be sidestepped there too, but it would be a huge task to create a new road federation that would be recognized by the IOC and that would be able to attract all the monumental races that have been running for 100 years. Note I am saying "difficult" and not "impossible".

    On the dirt side, I think MTB would be better off without the UCI because they obviously have no understanding of what MTB is about. It wouldn't be as challenging especially for Gravity to create a series with full support from teams and events.

    Bottom line is we both agree - The UCI is completely ridiculous.

  • glucia805

    4/8/2013 11:53 AM

    Actually, UCI is using the rule to mess with the roadies and XC guys, so it's not just gravity they're after. The XC guys are probably more pissed at this like Leadville and the Whiskey 50 are unsanctioned.

    Tilford wrote a nice rant.

  • JMHV

    4/8/2013 9:07 AM

    The horses have left the barn, there's nothing USAC or UCI can do to stop the departure of non-olympic events (everything but XC, Road, Track) from underneath their umbrella and strongarm tactics are just making it worse.

  • MrPlow

    4/8/2013 1:41 AM

    Boycott UCI.

  • tazer255zm

    4/7/2013 7:43 PM

    Good job UCI way to slow the growth of an amazing sport

  • dustboy

    4/7/2013 5:38 PM


  • Maverickdh005

    4/7/2013 1:44 PM

    If this is part of an attempt to halt the success of the new Enduro World Series, which I dont think it is, here is a point around the EWS, sorry if already made.
    Most of the riders and teams in EWS are dedicated Enduro teams, so basically the foundations for the EWS sereis are well and truly secure, if UCI licenced riders are affected e.g Peaty, Minnar and co it will be diapointing but not life threatening to EWS in fact the potentail backfire to the UCI here is huge, a fair number of the biggest stars are at the other end of their careers and could easily make a move earlier than planned, especially as financially a bigger series means more racing, more sponsorship exposure, more income for a rider.

    Though dont be fooled EWS has some big stars of its own and they also have a big jump on non Enduro riders. Imo EWS is safe, UCI you are not, riders have a choice, maybe like the Baseball series years back during the big fight between owners and players a year off would be better for the long run of MTB, drop the UCI by boycott and through all into EWS and start another DH1 and I think you'd find real players would get behind them, its not only the riders and trade teams and forums that have had a gutsfull of the UCI.

    Re Martin Whitley theyre was an interesting article online awhile back around the Gwin gate he didnt say it in too many words but he was also frustrated with the way the UCI were heading in the last few years. Correct me if Im wrong but he stood down from the UCI after the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Aus.

  • Howse

    4/7/2013 12:51 PM

    Thanks for giving the racers even less....

  • t.QT

    4/6/2013 9:43 PM

    We just had a great bike festival here in Queenstown. There were numerous Pro riders at many of the events. It inspired riders of many ages and abilities, and the Pros themselves seemed to enjoy competing in such a chilled atmosphere with quality fields minus the "pressure, drama etc" of the big events. The concept of a political body clearly out of touch with its sport, spoiling that style of event here in New Zealand is ridiculous. We (NZ) have a history/reputation of fun events that encourage growth and culture based around humble champions mixing with every day riders in an aspiring, progressive, inclusive scene. UCI has no relevance in our culture, nor the right to pull away all or licensed riders. To sanction all our events, how ever easy, would show support for a corrupt organisation, and I believe, offer them even more power than the delusional UCI believe they already have. Be strong resisting this one USA, many are watching and some of the other organisations around the globe may be to small to try and make a stand against it with any impact!

  • JonnyC

    4/6/2013 10:18 AM

    Doesn't Martin Whitley work on the uci board?

  • pendragon05

    4/6/2013 5:05 AM

    Interesting. Not sure about the US (I'll take earlier comments at face value which indicate a similar situation), and putting aside the merits or otherwise of competing under the local and world governing body, but this would be illegal under Australian law as it would constitute a restraint of trade for the competitors concerned. This has been tested in a similar situation in a motor sport environment many moons ago. Free advice to the UCI/Cycling Australia - I wouldn't try that in Oz.

  • ricky.thefifth

    4/5/2013 11:08 PM

    what a fricken sh! t show!!

  • ricky.thefifth

    4/5/2013 11:06 PM

    what a fricken sh! t show

  • Uncle Cliffy

    4/5/2013 8:10 PM

    Petition: signed.

  • erwinmruiz

    4/5/2013 7:58 PM

    USAC,UCI, Pat McQuaid, take your rule and shove it up your ass

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