UCI postpones introduction of controversial rule relating to unsanctioned events
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

UCI postpones introduction of controversial rule relating to unsanctioned events

by VeloNation Press at 1:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
USA Cycling president Steve Johnson said strict enforcement ‘will have unintended and undesirable consequences’

UCIReacting to strong protests about the enforcement of Article 1.2.019 of the UCI regulations, namely a rule about licence holders participating in unsanctioned events, the UCI has told announced that it will suspend the rule in question for the remainder of the season.

The UCI has been under fire over the enforcement of the regulation, which would have affected many events in the US and elsewhere, including many mountain bike races.

Now it is backtracking on those plans, although it states that it wants to reintroduce the rule next season.

“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,” it said today in a statement. “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.”

Towards the end of last month the UCI president Pat McQuaid wrote to the presidents of all the national federations saying that it understood that some of them had been experiencing difficulties in the “interpretation and application of the rules” relating to so-called “forbidden races.”

That letter referenced article 1.2.019, which states that “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.”

The letter continued by saying that the regulation enables national federations to “protect the hard work and resources you pour into the development of your events at national level,” while also allowing the UCI to “guarantee uniform regulation.”

While there have been cases before where professional riders have been stopped from riding unsanctioned events, for example the races that Tyler Hamilton considered running while he was suspended from competition, McQuaid stressed that article 1.2.019 applies to all licence holders, without any 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,” he stated.

The penalty for breaking the rule enables riders to be either suspended for up to thirty days or to be fined.

McQuaid added that while the regulation allows national federations to grant a special exception to certain races or events, that this provision is limited to those events which are “occasional and which do not recur, most often organised by persons or entities who do not belong to the world of organised sport.”

He gave an example of races held for members of the armed forces, fire fighters or students. However McQuaid made clear that no such exception could be granted to a person or entity who regularly organises cycling events.

“The objective of Article 1.2.019 is that exemptions should only be granted in exceptional cases,” he stated, before making clear that penalties would exist. “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.”

Responding today to the news, USA Cycling president and CEO Steve Johnson made clear that his federation had reservations about the planned enforcement of the regulation. “Notwithstanding the fact that rule 1.2.019 has been enforced in Europe for many years, it is clear strict enforcement in the U.S. and other countries will have unintended and undesirable consequences,” he said.

“USA Cycling listened to the views expressed by the cycling community in America, and these issues were fully represented in discussions with the UCI. We would like to thank the UCI for its willingness to suspend enforcement of the rule globally to allow time for productive dialogue with all stakeholders to find a workable solution for the future.”

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