The UCI has issued a statement regarding Rule 1.2.019, which deals with UCI licensed racers participating in unsanctioned races. This rule was examined in last month's article
, but the statement closes what had seemed to be a loophole that would allow UCI licensed riders not on a UCI team to participate in unsanctioned events. USA Cycling posted the statement
up today, along with the acknowledgement that they would be complying with the ruling, but would waive the permit fee for race organizers seeking to have their pre-existing races sanctioned.
To reiterate, the rule 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.
At first, it seemed like national federations could use the second part of the ruling to easily grant exceptions, allowing UCI licensed racers to participate in unsanctioned events without repercussion. However, the statement from the UCI makes it clear that this is not the case, and says,
|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.|
With that potential workaround closed, what about the theory that racers not on UCI teams wouldn't need to worry about the rule? At one point, USA Cycling Director of Communications Bill Kellick said that the ruling "does not affect mountain bike pro riders who are NOT on UCI-registered teams." That's no longer the case the case, and according to the UCI,
|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 takeaway from all of this? UCI licensed riders can only race sanctioned races. That's it. No loopholes, no exceptions. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially considering the rapid growth of enduro racing. Racers will need to decide which direction to take their racing career, either sticking with sanctioned races or forgoing the UCI entirely and racing in the numerous unsanctioned alternatives. - Mike Kazimer