Forbidden races - Rule 1.2.019

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04/9/2013| 0 comments
by Neil Browne

Forbidden races - Rule 1.2.019

The UCI is asking for rule enforcement, but why now?

rule 1.2.019 by USAC has alienated a portion of their customers so why do it? They have no choice.

In order to stay in the good graces of the UCI, which means hosting major events like the 2015 Richmond, Virginia road race championships they need to play ball. Let’s be honest, USAC cares about grooming athletes for the elite level for such events like the Olympics. They do that well. Americans at the elite level are a force to be reckoned with. Look at Taylor Phinney and Tejay van Garderen as examples.

However, the vast majority of the USAC’s license holders are hobbyists – train when they can and race on the weekend for often nothing more than bragging rights and possibly enough cash for gas money. Unsanctioned races are the life blood of competitive cycling in the U.S. and the UCI is trying to choke it out.

The true irony of this is that Irishman Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI, is banned for life from Olympic participation because he broke the embargo of racing in apartheid South Africa. McQuaid wanted to get in some race miles in an attempt to make the Irish national team, so he traveled to South Africa and raced under an alias.

At this point there’s not much that can be done officially. Promoters who might have UCI license holders as participants could hide some names form entry forms and I’ve heard that a few riders will register under the name “Pat McQuaid”. Technically a UCI licensee who races in a “forbidden race” faces a fine and suspension.

Whatever the end result, it further shows that the UCI is only looking at the short term and not the long term of growth for cycling. Track and Field’s federation encourages their license holders to participate in unsanctioned events to showcase their athletes. In contrast the UCI is trying to remain insular and serve only themselves and not the people they supposedly are tasked to serve. The UCI needs to reconsider the worth of this rule or continue to look like the Death Star (cue “Imperial March” theme music) shooting its laser beam at federations that don’t toe the line.

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