Possible Dark Season ahead for USAC and MTB in Colorado

Photo Credit: 303Photo

It’s just 1 small rule and it really only applies to the pros... or does it. As it stands rule 1.2.019 will bar UCI-licensed riders from competing in unsanctioned UCI events.

"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.”

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Isn’t this the same rule that was used to convince Colorado to join USAC. For those not familiar with this history here, local pros were being threaten to be fined if any UCI holding racer were to sign up for any Colorado road race, like North Boulder Park, Mt Evans, Boulder Roubaix or even something as basic as a training race like Stazio. In the end Colorado races voted to join USAC and now that is all history. Now the spotlight is being shown on the mountain biking community.

Like how Colorado road scene was a few years ago, Colorado Mountain Biking community is full of many great unsanctioned USAC events, like all of the RME races, Winter Park races, the Growler, Breck Epic etc. Do big successful events like the Winter Park Series care that they will lose some pros this year? Probably not, but that’s not going to be true for all events. When some events lose big names they also lose attention and with that they lose attendance, sponsorship and vitality.

References for this topic

- USAC Clarifies their take on the rule

- Colorado racer Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski gives his take on the rule. He has publicily state that he will not be getting a UCI license this year.

- Veteran racer Steve Tilford gives his 2 cents

- cyclingnews.com Talks with USAC about the rule

- Mountain Bike Radio talks with racers, promoters and leaders about this rule and a discussion with JHK on this

- Sho Air Cannadale team ignores the rule

- The Breck Epic was one of the first in Colorado to raise their voice about this rule a couple of months ago.

Colorado Pro racers also lose the ability to train and improve at their local convenience so when they do go to those real big UCI events they can perform at the best.

Colorado rising juniors can also lose out because it becomes an all or nothing... either get the UCI license and test the waters at the big event and forfeit many local races or never make the jump to do a UCI event.

There are a lot of losers at the moment. Who wins? Well the intent of the rule is to protect grass roots races and not have the pros come in and cherry pick the smaller events or the devils advocate would say it levels the playing field for local elites... But in all our years of cover cycling this is one complaint that is rarely heard.

What will happen in Colorado? It’s too early to say. Some riders have already been fined for racing at the Teva games in Vail but what could be a bigger change is many Colorado Mountain bikers are opting to not get a UCI license this year. There are still plenty of great national Mountain Biking events that are unsanctioned that can keep a sponsor happy and a paycheck coming to the ride. And some are just going to ignore the UCI and USAC and continue racing just as they had and see how those cards fall out. What will be very interesting is how USAC plays this out... will they enforce or look away. Very difficult times for USAC. NORBA is long since dead and this could put a stake in mountain biking that could take many many years to undo for USAC. Good Luck USAC

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