In the good news department, the BMC Racing Team has been granted an event-specific derogation to UCI article 2.1.009 allowing them to compete in the following National Racing Calendar (NRC) events: Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, Cascade Cycling Classic, Tour of Elk Grove and Tour of Utah.
“This represents a strong show of support by the UCI, and a sign that they are inclined toward solutions that facilitate the development of larger teams in North America. I am very appreciative of the efforts by both USA Cycling and UCI on our behalf.” said BMC General Team Manager Gavin Chilcott.
To recap, prior to the Tour of the Gila at the end of April, the UCI enforced a rarely (if ever) used article 2.1.009 which states that “only the UCI continental teams of the country, regional and club teams, national teams and mixed teams may participate in national events.”
An interpretation of article 2.8.003 allowed 3 riders from the BMC (and Astana) team to race at Gila as long as they were not racing as a UCI team which forced the trio to wear a different kit. According to Jackson Stewart, the riders were only notified on the day prior to the start of the race that this rule would be enforced, and this after the team had been racing in NRC events already this year. Not just racing but winning as Jeff Louder won the overall at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the first NRC event on 2009 in March.
The same rule came into effect for the Air Force Cycling Classic Clarendon Cup at the end of May where neither BMC nor the UCI ProTour team Fuji-Servetto were allowed to race.
Great news for 2009 as Louder and his team will be able to defend their title in Utah where the Garmin-Slipstream team can also field Pro Tour riders if they wish. Hopefully, this derogation or even better a change to the rule will be enacted in 2010.
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. Having them and ProTour teams at some of the NRC events is a plus for everyone.