UCI Rules Crackdown: No Non-USAC Sanctioned Races For Pros

The UCI continues to crackdown on rules enforcement. In an e-mail obtained by podiuminsight, USA Cycling reminded teams and riders of the UCI rules that limit the races – and number of grand fondo events – that they can do.

The bombshell this time is rule 1.2.019 which simply states that pro riders cannot race non-USAC sanctioned races. This rule applies equally to riders on Pro Teams, Pro Continental Teams and Continental Teams. If the pro racers do choose to participate in these races, they are subject to a one-month suspension and a fine.  This rule has been in the books for many years but was not enforced in the past.

This is a big blow to Oregon and Colorado where many races are governed under OBRA and ACA Associations respectively. At the OBRA Cherry Pie Road Race held in February, at least three riders on Continental teams can be seen in the results. The ACA Frostbite TT, back in March, was won by a rider on a Continental team.

Update: For OBRA’s Executive Director Kenji Sugahara, the rule enforcement will not impact many riders. He sent the following comment:

“It impacts very few of our riders. More than anything it’s pretty lame as we like racing with our guys like Ian Boswell and Jake Rathe when they come back to town. Heck, I was looking forward to sucking Jake Rathe’s wheel at a Tuesday PIR. But seriously, I’m pretty disappointed. It’s never been enforced before so I’m puzzled why it’s being enforced now. I’d guess that it’s UCI being the UCI rather than USA Cycling. We’ve recently had a great working relationship with USA Cycling.”

“It will have a very minor impact as it affects only a few of our riders. More than anything it impacts one of our promoters more than anyone else (Chad Sperry). In reality it will only affect two races – the Cherry Blossom Classic and the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic as those aren’t run under USA Cycling. Cascade is run with USA Cycling handling the P/1 race so that isn’t affected at all.”

“When we have great riders coming out of our program like Jacob Rathe and Ian Boswell to name a few- this move is pretty disappointing. I know our local riders enjoy having them race. Frankly, if the UCI wasn’t based in Europe I’d be making a move to take Pat’s job given we have one of the most successful grassroots cycling programs in the US with the highest per capita ridership period.”

“In the end we’ll see how this works out with our reciprocity negotiations with USA Cycling. Perhaps we’ll work to have our events recognized albeit not sanctioned by USA Cycling.”

None of the rules are new, but what is new is that the UCI is now enforcing them.

The UCI started the rule crackdown in April 2009, when they barred the BMC Pro Team from fielding a full squad at the Tour of the Gila.

Let’s recap the rules.

USA Races. All pro riders are allowed to race in the Criteriums on the NRC. In 2011, 14 crits plus the USA Crit Speedweek events were added to the UCI Criterium Calendar.

In addition to National TT, Road and Crit Championships, Pro Teams riders are only allowed to race in UCI 1.1, 2.1, 1.HC, 2.HC and World Tour events. In the USA, that means Amgen Tour of California, TD Bank International Cycling Championship, Larry H Miller Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Riders on the Pro Continental Teams, are allowed to race in the same events at the Pro Teams plus UCI 1.2 and 2.2 events. So along with the 4 events listed earlier, they can also participate in Tour of Elk Grove and Univest Grand Prix.

Per UCI rule 2.1.009 Pro Teams and Pro Continental teams are excluded from participating in non-UCI events; except for the NRC crits.

Riders on UCI Men’s Continental teams may ride any local, regional or national level race sanctioned by USA Cycling and open to Elite Cat 1 riders, as well as any UCI race. They can also be invited at UCI 1.1, 1,2, 2.1, 2.2, 1.HC and 2.HC events. (Rule 2.1.005)

Riders on UCI Women’s teams may ride any local, regional or national level race sanctioned by USA Cycling and open to Elite Cat 1 riders, as well as any UCI race. (Rule 2.1.005)

Gran Fondos. Amazing but yes, there is a UCI rule around Gran Fondos too. Rule 2.2.008 states that riders on Pro Teams and Pro Continental teams may ride in one Gran Fondo if it bears its name. For other gran fondos, they must be granted an exception from the UCI.

Riders on Men’s UCI Continental teams may participate in 3 Gran Fondos per year; and only 3 riders from a given team may participate in any Gran Fondo. No restrictions for  UCI Women’s teams.

Of note, not all Grand Fondos are for charity.

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