Tuesday (Wednesday) Coffee Talk - Ethical Racing

A recent "incident" at a local race brings up a topic of ethical racing. When is a racer crossing the line when making deals to other competitors while in the race? For example say there are 3 in a break and all 3 are from different teams and likely all in the prize winning. What if one of the racers says "Hey I'll give you all my prize winning if you don't chase me down in my next attack." One of the rider agrees and the rider who made the offer does go on to win the race. Is that wrong and when is the line crossed in going too far? What if the rider was wealthy and basically paid them off to let him/her win? What if this was the event for State Championships?

Striking up deals in the race and sharing of prize winnings happens all the time but when is the deal too much?

OK, this is just one scenario and one could create an dozen or more like examples of offers and deals and such.

News Item: 


This won't keep me from racing, but...

I race and will continue to do so because I enjoy challenging myself and participating in this great sport. I realize I'm only doing it as recreation no matter how good or bad my results are. However, I would be disappointed and discouraged to work hard in a race only to learn that the leaders of my category sold the results.

uh you realize that amateur

uh you realize that amateur and pro teams work together all the time right???ever watched the tour? its the way it is and I am fine with it...people work together all the time.. if your in a group and someone wants to buy a race just say no.. if that's the way you feel.

So it's really never OK?

Lets step away from "the incident" and think of other cases.... A team packs the front row at Deer Trail and chases every break and causes chaos with any chase rider by passing them and then slowing down once in front (not braking to be clear). It's a common rule that team's share in their winnings with other supporting team mates so all riders once their lead guy wins. That's team tactics right?

What if 5 riders all from different team decide to act as a team in order to get away from the field? In return they all decide to share in the prize?

This sounds OK right?

What if that group of 5 has 1 rider that is sucking ass and he says... "just don't drop me, you all can keep my share"

That too seems right?

What if 1 of the 5 says, "screw you all I'm going for broke" and tries to win it themselves only to fail and not allowed back in the break as the break now works to make sure he does not rank higher then any of them


General Misconduct (USAC's Rules)

Here is the section of USAC's Rules applicable to General Misconduct regarding the pay-off at the CX race this past Saturday:

"1Q2. General Misconduct. The following offenses may be
punished by suspension or lesser penalties:
(a) Acts of theft, fraud, dishonesty, or grossly
unsportsmanlike conduct in conjunction with a sporting event;
(b) Offering, conspiring, or attempting to cause any race to
result otherwise than on its merits."

I think it is clear from the CX race events that both 1st and 2nd place racers are in violation of USAC's Rules. Looks like "Suspension or lesser penalties" are in order for these two. I anticipate they are thoroughly embarrassed for their unethical actions at a local CX race.

interpreting the rule

"1Q2. (b) Offering, conspiring, or attempting to cause any race to
result otherwise than on its merits."

What exactly does "otherwise than on its merits" actually mean?

We have tarred and feathered these two guys, but is this case case any different than when the overall leader in stage race gives up a stage win for cooperation in gaining overall time on rivals? Or what if a substantially weaker rider manages to catch the wheel of a stronger rider in a breakaway and convinces him to not attempt to drop him (thereby guaranteeing 2nd place). What if the convincing is done by offering up his 2nd place prize?

Maybe the outrage is a result of all the doping revelations of late, but I have never heard of this rule be enforced in many years of participation in this sport. In this light, one could reasonably believe that the rule doesn't cover most mid-race wheeling and dealing that goes on. Was this rule written to preclude things like the Black Sox Scandal or more? Could it be extended to cover every instance where a rider orally attempts to make another rider act in a way that affects the final outcome of a race?

Undoubtedly, we can list various examples that strike us as obvious violations of the rule, but, as with nearly any rule, there is a significant gray area here. This gray area is only made worse due to lax enforcement of the rule. So, maybe rather than institute our own little version of the Salem Witch Trials, we could be rational and productive about the whole thing. Maybe we should be lobbying USAC to rewrite the rule to be more precise.

Also, after re-reading the thread I was struck by this comment:

"Bottom line: if you buy or sell a race in this obvious a manner you bring dishonor and disrepute to yourself, your team and it's sponsors. So let the chips fall where they may in that regard, BCS and United Healthcare."

Maybe, this was just a inadvertent use of words, but the use of the word "obvious" implies that this practice is okay as long as you keep it out of the public eye/ear. More "gray".

Exactly right. At Castle

Exactly right. At Castle Cross Powlison had a flat, changed wheels and chased the rest of the race. In the finish straight his teamate Whitney sat up to let Powlison get 5th, the points and the podium. Now there is an obvious difference here and none of us think that is a problem at all.....but that flies in the face of the wording of the rule.

Is that okay?