The UCI Management Committee again kicked the can down the road at their meeting last week in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, when they discussed the issues surrounding Rule 1.2.019 and agreed to suspend enforcement of the rule for the remainder of the 2014 season.
"Although we would have liked to see a concrete resolution regarding Rule 1.2.019, we are nonetheless encouraged that there will be continuing dialogue regarding the worldwide ramifications of the rule in the coming year," said USA Cycling
President & CEO Steve Johnson. "In the meantime, we are pleased that enforcement of the rule will be suspended for another year."
The UCI general regulations include a section called "Forbidden Races." Within it, Rule 1.2.019 states, "No license holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognized by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI." Related rules 1.2.020 and 1.2.021 provide additional details, including specifying punishment via fine or suspension for all UCI license holders who violate the rule.
We agree with Steve Johnson, the UCI needs to come to an official resolution on the law instead of losing member confidence by putting it off for another year. Mountain Bike Action
has always believed the rule is in violation of
America's anti-trust laws and right-to-work laws, would hinder competition between race
promoters, and will ultimately leave racers with less options, higher racing
costs and lower purses. Competition is a good thing for riders, both on the course and off.
For those with slightly longer attention spans, below is a reprint of the September 2013 Mac Attack editorial on Rule 1.2.019:
IF YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM, BAN THEM
By Jim "Jimmy Mac" McIlvain
What would I do
if friends stopped showing up for pump track night? First, I’d check my breath
and sniff my underarms. Then, I’d ask if the track needed work. I’d offer to
water more, or less. If friends felt something was dangerous, I’d fix it. I’d
ask if I was holding the pumping on the wrong night. I’d offer to put in more
lights. And, if all else failed, I’d buy a bunch of tacos from the Somis Market
and try to bribe them into coming back (if they didn’t show, at least I’d have
lunch and dinner for the rest of the week).
The one thing I
wouldn’t do, even as a last resort, is tell all my friends they were no longer
welcome. That just wouldn’t cross my mind. But, strangely enough, that is
exactly what USA Cycling tried to do earlier this year. The only difference is
that it wasn’t their last resort; it was one of the first moves they took to
counter an obvious trend that they need to reverse or risk irrelevance to
mountain bike racers.
mountain bike race promoters are discovering that they can do very well running
events without USA Cycling. The ever-expanding National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) took a look at what USA Cycling brought to the table and
said, “No thanks.” They could supply their student racers with better insurance
and lower entry fees without USA Cycling butting in. Over-The-Hump-style
midweek races are revitalizing cross-country racing with affordable, fun,
grass-roots events that are spreading like wildfire--without any help from USA
Cycling. Arizona’s Whiskey 50, the
biggest U.S. mountain bike payday of the year for cross-country racers, is not
run under USA Cycling, and the new discipline of Enduro racing--timed
gravity-fed singletrack stages with transition sections between each
stage--appears to be blossoming without the rules and bureaucracy of USA
Cycling as well.
So, in an
effort to protect their interests, USA Cycling, which operates in accordance
with the rules and regulations of the International Cycling Union (how that
happened deserves a whole other Mac Attack), decided that good old Article
1.2.019 needed to be enforced. It says, “No license holder may participate in
an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world
calendar or that has not been recognized by a national federation, a
continental confederation or the UCI.”
The same thing
happened to American motocross racers. The American Motorcyclist Association,
based in Ohio, had pretty much sanctioned every type of motorcycle racing in
modern history. The explosion of motocross in the ‘70s caught the AMA’s old
guard by surprise. Shocked to see their membership dwindle as regional
motocross organizations exploded, they tried their own Article 1.2.019.
racers could not compete in non-sanctioned events within a certain radius of
any AMA race. It all came to a head when AMA-licensed riders were fined for
racing non-sanctioned events. Southern California race promoters went to the
California State Attorney General and asked, “Is it legal for an organization
based out of Ohio to tell my customers that they can’t do business with me?”
The Attorney General’s office took about two seconds to challenge the AMA’s
rule as a violation of antitrust, restraint-of-trade and right-to-work laws.
biking’s case, Sho-Air International
has decided to take on USA Cycling and the UCI, stating that “Sho-Air International, NICA sponsor, principle
sponsor of a half dozen independent club teams with membership exceeding 1,000,
primary sponsor of the US Cup, as well as the title sponsor of the
Sho-Air/Cannondale Factory North America mountain bike race team, announces
that a full roster of riders from Team Sho-Air/Cannondale are being sent to
participate at the Whiskey 50. This action is in spite of the current mandate
from the UCI and USA Cycling regarding rule 1.2.019 that forbids UCI license
holders from participation in non-sanctioned events.”
response, the UCI granted racers a short reprieve, but it is clear they intend
to enforce the rule in 2014. The UCI released the following statement:
"The UCI listened to the feedback from the various groups involved and who
feel affected by a strict and immediate enforcement of rule 1.2.019 and its
associated sanctions. The UCI has decided to postpone strict enforcement of
rule 1.2.019 in 2013 with the expectation that all stakeholders (National
Federations, race directors, teams and riders) will discuss and do what is
necessary to prepare for the rule’s full enforcement in 2014."
how petty the UCI can be is evident from their “Official” World Cup results. Sho-Air/Cannondale
Team’s Max Plaxton has finished on the blocks at two events so far, and both
times his team affiliation on the results has been left blank. If they think
this will deter Sho-Air International, the
UCI is underestimating the team’s resolve.
advice to the UCI and USA Cycling? Smell your breath and arm pits before you
try to strong-arm American racers with your 1.2.019
rule. You will win over more riders by giving them what they want than by
forcing them to take what you are offering. Bravo to Sho-Air International for
standing up for all racers.