By Daniel McMahon
Last week I reported on a controversial rule from the International Cycling Union (UCI) that bars riders who hold a UCI license from competing in so-called banned or unsanctioned races.
The argument, at least from the U.S. perspective, can be boiled down to this:
On the one hand, USAC is saying it is merely enforcing the rule as it has been passed down from the sport’s global governing body, the UCI, to whose rules and regulations it is largely bound.
On the other hand, riders, race promoters, and fans are crying foul, alleging that the rule is bullshit and clearly an attempt by the UCI and USAC to stunt the growth of grassroots racing and squash any “breakaway leagues” that wish to operate independent of the UCI and USAC.
The rule affects lots of riders and races.
In 2012, for example, there were about 3,000 UCI license holders in the U.S., according to the USAC representative I spoke with, Sean Petty.
It’s a David-versus-Goliath struggle, and it appears that Goliath has won. Whether the governing bodies will change their minds is unclear, but today it looks extremely unlikely.
This means that in 2013 any of those UCI license holders who want to race can do so only if races are run by UCI or USAC, with few exceptions.
Under the rule, Trimble’s race is considered unsanctioned and banned in the eyes of the UCI and, by extension, USAC.
Trimble has had great success with his race, and he makes some very good points in his argument.
Here’s an excerpt:
Dear Steve Johnson:
As the founder of the Red Hook Criterium I have tried hard to stay out of cycling politics. With the current rise of the RHC and the latest ‘clarification’ from the global and national sanctioning body I share my thoughts:
The announced enforcement of Rule 1.2.019 is the beginning of a civil war within the sport launched from above. With decades of scandals, corruption, erased record books and disgusting ‘win at all costs’ mentality the pinnacle of this sport isn’t really the pinnacle at all. The revolution in cycling is already here and unfortunately for the established guard it has not been launched on their watch. Stop gap efforts by the way of punishing athletes from competing in the countless number of beautiful, well organized, and occasionally lucrative unsanctioned events is going to backfire.
Have your say in the comments.