The International Cycling Union (UCI) will not permit Continental teams Chipotle Development and Trek-Livestrong to compete at the upcoming Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge, both held in August. The decision was based on code 2.2.001 that involves the teams' affiliation with participating ProTeams Garmin-Cervelo and RadioShack.
"The rule refers to teams being in the same race with the same paying agent," Chief Operating Officer of USA Cycling Sean Petty told Cyclingnews. "In May, the UCI initially approved the two teams competing however, on July 12 the UCI said that upon review they would not allow the teams to compete because of the relationships between RadioShack and Trek-Livestrong, and Garmin-Cervelo and Chipotle Development."
"It is disappointing because we went for so long under the assumption they would be racing and subsequently those teams made plans and started their training," he said. "They were leading up to them in anticipation of them and now here we are in July and that decision was changed. We feel bad for the team, sponsors and riders."
Trek-Livestrong, managed under Austin-based Capital Sports & Entertainment that also runs RadioShack, accepted the invitation to both the Tour of Utah and the Pro Cycling Challenge. Chipotle Development, managed under Boulder-based Slipstream Sports that also runs Garmin-Cervelo, declined their invitation to compete in the Tour of Utah in order to compete in the overseas Volta ao Portugal, however, the team did confirm its start at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
"Capital Sports and Entertainment made an initial request, and question regarding the rule, to the UCI in May regarding the possibility of RadioShack and Trek-Livestrong being able to compete in Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge and on May 24 the UCI said that would indeed be possible," Petty said. "From that point everyone moved forward based on that decision and communication from the UCI, that certainly if Trek-Livestrong could compete then the same applied to Chipotle Development. When race organizers received approval to invite the teams everything moved forward in good faith and the team made their plans."
The UCI 2.1 Tour of Utah will be held from August 9-14 around Salt Lake City, Utah. The inaugural UCI 2.1 USA Pro Cycling Challenge will be held from August 22-28 in Colorado. The organizers of both UCI-sanctioned events presented each team with coveted invitation for two of the Continental level spots on the start line, to compete alongside ProTeams and Professional Continental teams.
"The organizations invited us but the UCI sent us a letter two weeks ago saying that you can't have your ProTeam race competing in the same race as your Continental team, because we are both run by the same management," Chipotle Development DS Chann McRea told Cyclingnews. "They have never permitted that and they said that they have to stand by those rules. And that goes for Trek-Livestrong too. The organizations said they were sorry and that they really wanted us there."
Teams that are currently listed to compete in the Tour of Utah include ProTeams RadioShack and Garmin-Cervelo along with BMC Racing, HTC-Highroad and Liquigas-Cannondale. Professional Continental teams include UnitedHealthcare, Geox-TMC, Team Type 1-Sanofi-Aventis, and SpiderTech p/b C10. Continental teams include Bissell, Endura Racing, Gobernacion de Antoquia, Jamis-Sutter Home, PureBlack Racing, Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth and RealCyclist.com.
Teams that are listed to compete at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge include RadioShack, Garmin-Cervelo, HTC-Highroad, BMC Racing, Leopard-Trek, Liquigas-Cannondale, Saxo Bank-Sunguard and Skil-Shimano. Professional Continental teams include UnitedHealthcare, Team Type 1-Sanofi-Aventis, and SpiderTech p/b C10. Continental teams reportedly include Bissell, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda and Exergy.
The exclusion of the two Chipotle Development and Trek-Livestrong from the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge could open up spots for additional teams to compete, but not necessarily for US Continental teams.
"The decision to invite other teams will be up to the individual organizers and they are sorting out what to do now," Petty said. "There would be two teams at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and one team at the Tour of Utah. They will announce their plans soon, whether they will add teams or stay with the ones they have."
The two events were going to be used as preparation for the French Under 23 Tour de l'Avenir and the UCI Under 23 World Championships at the end of the season. "The Tour de l'Avenir team would have likely come from these two squads because they would have raced these events as good preparation," Petty said. "We were pleased with the UCI's decision to allow the teams to initially compete in Utah and Colorado and so we did not make any plans for them to race anywhere else. The decision has definitely change plans or Chipotle, Trek and our U23 national team."
Trek-Livestrong Directeur sportif Axel Merckx is currently discussing possible solutions with the sport governing body that would allow the team to compete.