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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  • dirty booger

    4/5/2013 4:33 PM

    Sooooo stupid. Stoked I spent $150 to get that retarded little license this year, just because some of the local races are now USA Cycling sanctioned.

    But all the real races (D'Ville, Oregon Enduros, Cally Enduros, etc, etc) have nothing to do w/ USA Cycling for good reason. I really really hope I get fined. I will mail the biggest box full of burrito and IPA fueled shiat to Colorado Springs they have ever seen! And I am sure they have seen many boxes of shiat.

  • KHSFactoryRacing

    4/5/2013 3:13 PM

    UCI ruling from their tiny little thrown... suck it!

    USAC you little puppet you are... grow some balls!

    You guys should go drink some wine and eat some cheese with our UCI LICENSE money MTB will have its own governing body soon enough, and we wont pay for your licra parties anymore. USAC will have to survive on ROADIES.

    USAC you are trying to force manufactures like KHS to stay away from GREAT EVENTS like Fontana, and monopolize our sport and how it is run. USAC - you should think twice before you alienate ALL OF MTB. Their will be a new govener soon enough, and you fairys wont be included.

  • amado

    4/5/2013 2:01 PM

    At least it isn't news that USAC is killing cycling...

  • kenjisugahara

    4/5/2013 1:55 PM

    The communique is in direct contravention of Federal Law- it goes against the Ted Stevens Act.

    36 USC § 220524
    For the sport that it governs, a national governing body shall—

    (5) allow an amateur athlete to compete in any international amateur athletic competition conducted by any amateur sports organization or person, unless the national governing body establishes that its denial is based on evidence that the organization or person conducting the competition does not meet the requirements stated in section 220525 of this title;


    USAC or the UCI has not made any evidentiary inquiry and determination.

    This applies since their catchall saying "all UCI license holders"- it captures amateurs.

  • scottyl

    4/5/2013 1:00 PM

    I can't sign that petition with a clear conscience. Not when it says: "Without question you are intelligent men and women."

    Nah, they're thickos. Corrupt ones at that.

  • quasibinaer

    4/5/2013 12:59 PM

    I think it´s funny how the UCI digs out this rule, now that they probably realized how long they sat on their ears concerning freeride and enduro racing. Because World Cups are held for money, too. So, naturally, they want to dry out the EWS, the big freeride events and the likes until they get their stuff sorted and/or the organizers pay to have their events sanctioned. Money´s also one of the reasons why gravity disciplines get much less love than, say, certain EPO-prone disciplines...

  • Maverickdh005

    4/5/2013 12:51 PM

    UCI = Rome is crumbling!

  • kenjisugahara

    4/5/2013 12:18 PM

    Try something else- we're in the midst of launching.

  • todd.margeson.9

    4/5/2013 11:44 AM

    Although I disagree with the terrible UCI rule as well, and am definitely signing the petition above, I don't really get why this is a "USAC hates you" article. It's about the UCI's terrible rules, not USAC. It's ridiculously easy to get an event USAC sanctioned. Just for instance, there was an MTB short track race series (4 races total) this past summer here in central Ohio, just at a local city park. It was basically a big grass field with one large hill (I'd call it more of a "bump") in the middle. The entire course was visible by standing in one spot. The total number of racers in all classes combined (Men's and women's included) was maybe 50. It was run only by one local bike shop. That's it. It was super-grassroots, and was still USAC sanctioned. How are these huge, multi-media-covered national/international events like Crankworx and Teva Games not getting USAC sanctioning?? If they did, there would be no issue with UCI-licensed racers participating.

    All that being said, yes, the rule itself is BS, and the UCI has no place in restricting what other events UCI-licensed racers participate in between sanctioned races. Why does it even matter? They're not cheating or gaining any extra advantage by racing an un-sanctioned race. I don't get it. It's just unnecessary. UCI sucks.

  • t.QT

    4/6/2013 9:22 PM

    with such a disregard for the development of, and access to, or sport, i cant imagine why (however easy) an organiser would want to be "sanctioned" or associated with USAC...

  • Banditdh

    4/7/2013 1:48 AM

    its a simple reaction to the realisation that the EWS is going to really take off and that they aren't going to recieve a cent from it. do they honestly not realise that the majority of races world wide are unsanctioned?

  • kenjisugahara

    4/5/2013 12:17 PM

    USAC asked for the letter.

  • todd.margeson.9

    4/5/2013 12:24 PM


  • bturman

    4/5/2013 12:57 PM

    As far as we're aware, USAC is the only national body indicating that they intend to enforce the rule. The relative ease of permitting an event really has little to do with it.


    4/5/2013 2:19 PM

    No Brandon...this rule has always being there for the past at least 5years...but nobody paid attention, until few countries that were I stated in the Vital FB, in our country, we have not have a sanctioned race in the last 5years, we held one in 2008...prior of that, the last one was in 2003....but the problem our federation have with us, is that in our country just me and my friend Carlos Castillo have organized races through the entire time...some other races are so small, that the Federation does not care about.....

    But, on the other hand, La Ruta de los Conquistadores, those who know XCM, is among the top5 thoughest stage races in the world...2 years ago, the Federation came over and shut it off...lots of top notch riders from around the globe got cut by surprise on this, local riders declined to participate due to the suspencion and fines that comes along with it....what happened...? They had to bend over to the federation to be able to have all the pros in it...BUT, they agree to have a non-santioned category so all the people who does not want/have a license can race there....

    Again, I´m not backing up the UCI nor USAC or any other Federation (including mine), but the rule book have always being there, and so does there entitles the federations to create (if they think so) a category where you don't need the license, but, the organizers still have to paid up 10% of the cost of the registration fee of each participant, along with all the insurance and policies the UCI request to organizers...

    Which brings me to another being a sanctioned race, you are sure the organizers must have insurance coverage, and all the other security stuff...would the organizers without the sanctioned body will still provide this, specially our sport that is the most dangerous one of getting injured...(in the bycicle world)....? interesting aproach too huh??

  • todd.margeson.9

    4/5/2013 1:16 PM

    If these grassroots (and huge, like Teva, etc) events were USAC sanctioned, there wouldn't be an issue at all. The rule would still be buried and off-radar. So kinda has a lot to do with ease of getting a permit. Again, yes the rule sucks and should be deleted from the books, but seems like there's a very simple solution to me. I already signed the petition, and that's all I'll say on the matter.

  • glucia805

    4/5/2013 1:41 PM

    No it's not a simple solution, there is a reason these races don't have USAC sanctioning. For them there is no reason too, USAC does not give them any benefit, it's a business decision. It's not by chance most of the new big events, that are bigger than most of the USAC events don't deal with them.

    Also, this is nothing but weakly camouflaged extortion.

    Interesting enough, unless something has radically changed in the past couples weeks USAC is the ONLY major cycling fed enforcing the rule.

  • t.QT

    4/6/2013 9:24 PM

    agree, and those organisations possibly don't want to be seen supporting (indirectly) the corrupt ways of the UCI.

  • Dave_Camp

    4/5/2013 11:39 AM

    How is syndicate gonna do both EWS and the world cup DH? Fuckin' USA Cycling.

  • glucia805

    4/5/2013 11:26 AM

    Think it's time for someone to make those shirts again.....

  • amado

    4/5/2013 2:00 PM

    Same message but OG.
    looks like these are still available

  • diego.iriarte2

    4/5/2013 11:21 AM

    Hating on the Enduro world series? That's a low blow.

  • nehuen93

    4/5/2013 11:19 AM

    Tell the uci what you think about this stupid rule!!! Dont let those a$$holes ruin our sport.
    @uci_cycling on twitter

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