What does the new rule enforcement mean for the BMC team?

Posted on 28. Apr, 2009 by in news

The twitterati  has been going nuts with the ‘Will they or Won’t they be allowed to race at Gila’ – and be they I mean Astana’s trio of Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner. Finally today, we learned that yes, the trio will be allowed to race at the Tour of the Gila starting tomorrow but  will be wearing Mellow Johnny kits.

For some  for-now unknown reason, the rarely-enforced  UCI rule 2.8.003 which limits which races a UCI ProTeam rider can participate in was suddenly enforced.  This rule, which was last updated in January 2007, states:

2.8.003 An individual race may be registered only on a national calendar and on the following conditions:
1. riders enter on an individual basis;
2. riders of a UCI ProTeam can take part a maximum of 3 times a year in an individual race;
3 a maximum of 3 riders of the same team registered with the UCI can take part in an individual
race;
4. the minimum prize money shall be 8000 Swiss francs;
5. the maximum distance shall be 170 km for men and 120 km for women;
6. if the race is ridden on a circuit, that circuit shall be at least 10 km long;
7. technical support shall be provided by neutral cars;
8. team vehicles shall not be admittedto the race.

Say what? Basically, a ProTour or Pro Continental team cannot field a full squad at a national race, a race that is not on the UCI calendar – only 3 riders from said team can participate. Why this rule was suddenly brought out is a question without an answer.  Did a team that could not get into the race file an official complaint with the UCI?

BMC Team

BMC Team

Bad news. This ruling also impacts the BMC Team which had brought a full squad of 8 riders to the race. This means, that today 5 riders, Tony Cruz, Jonathan Garcia, Martin Kohler, Jackson Stewart and Taylor Tolleson are going home. The remaining 3 riders, Scott Nydam, Florian Stalder and Chad Beyer will race but not in team kits.

But what does this mean for the rest of the year? Will this rule continue to be enforced?

The BMC Team has other NRC events on their calendar this year including Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, Cascade Classic and of course, the Tour of Utah won by Jeff Louder last year (thanks CD).

As the only Pro Continental team registered in the US, the BMC team offers an opportunity to many riders the step needed to move to the ProTour level and at the same time, increase the level at the American races.

It would be detrimental to the sport of cycling in the US if the BMC team which often fields a majority of American riders at these races, is not allowed to bring a full squad. Bad idea all around.  So what is USA Cycling going to do about this?

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9 Responses to “What does the new rule enforcement mean for the BMC team?”

  1. Name

    28. Apr, 2009

    This rule sucks! BMC should be able to field a full team to these events, as should any pro team. The UCI is once again screwing the sport with unnececary politics.

  2. kwc

    28. Apr, 2009

    I do wonder what sort of politics went on behind the scenes to put this all in motion. The way it was handled comes off as an embarrassment to the UCI and I think more transparency is necessary so that these last-minute shenanigans harm future race promotion.

  3. lyne

    28. Apr, 2009

    Both the UCI and USA Cycling need to set up to the plate and fix this – especially for BMC and other future pro Continental Teams.

  4. Name Josh

    28. Apr, 2009

    Good summary of the rule and thanks for touching on the downstream ramifications. It will be a shame if Utah can’t have BMC.

  5. Gavia

    28. Apr, 2009

    Presumably none of the stages at Gila are more than 105 miles?

    Sheesh, this really is a silly rule. I get why it exists, but in the U.S. context, it simply doesn’t work. There are not enough UCI races for an American-registered ProConti team to contest. So to race in the U.S. BMC would have to downgrade, which would rule out participation in major races in Europe.

    Yo UCI fix it!

  6. Name TW

    28. Apr, 2009

    I guess couple things here.
    In some way I do understand what the UCI is saying and it makes sense…otherwise Why do we have Race/ Rider/ Team categories. If all rider could do the same events their wouldn’t be a need. Somehow it’s also not fair for a Fulltime Pro to race against a “Full-Motivated-Weekendworrier- EliteAmateur” in the same race.

    BUT why now?? Well of course the spot light came from Armstrong and some UCi offical had to speak up.
    The UCI needs to realize that different Countries/ Continents have to operate slightly different then they do in Europe. The USA racing scene and team structures are different. This now “newly” enforced rule is a punish ment for , not really Armstong, Horner, LEvi, but for the ProContinental Teams here in the USA. This goes hand in had with the stupid age rule that applies to Continental Teams (50% riders need to be under 26years in a team).
    Glad the UCI gave USACyling a hint that at least riders could start but again this is a big hit for BMC. Thomas Frei from Switzerland travel over 20hours for basiclly nothing. He has to return now.
    It seems like the UCi and the federations hurt the sport sometimes more then anything.

    my 2 cents

  7. SA

    28. Apr, 2009

    What!? My boy Taylor Tolleson has to go home? That just blows.

  8. lyne

    29. Apr, 2009

    Yep it blows. But what really concerns me even more is what about the other races this year? Is everyone going to go back to ignoring the rule and hope no one brings in the UCI again? sort of a ‘secret de polichinelle’ OR is USA Cycling actually going to do something (ha!)

  9. lyne

    30. Apr, 2009