The UCI has delayed any potential changes to how it has been handling its controversial Rule 1.2.019 for another year, which means licensed racers will be able to continue to compete in "forbidden races" in 2014 without fear of punishment. The news came after the UCI's moratorium on enforcing UCI Rule 1.2.019 was set to expire on January 1, 2014.
When contacted last month after the deadline had passed with no further word, the UCI had said it was still reviewing the rule and would likely make a decision at the next round of UCI Management Committee meetings, ahead of the UCI Cyclo-cross Worlds. Today, the UCI issued its decision for this year, buying the organization more time to determine its long term approach to racers competing in such "forbidden races".
"Regarding Article 1.2.019 of the UCI Regulations related to the forbidden races, the Management Committee considered that the derogation to Article 1.2.019 will be maintained until the end of year 2014 in order to review the different possible solutions," Louis Chenaille, Press Officer of the UCI told Cyclingnews.
Speaking of options being considered by the UCI, Chenaille said, "One of them would be to limit this rule to certain disciplines and to certain categories of riders [Elite and Professional level]."
USA Cycling positively responded to the news of the delayed decision, which would affect many of its racers as currently written and interpreted. "Although we would have liked to see a concrete resolution regarding Rule 1.2.019, we are nonetheless encouraged that there will be continuing dialogue regarding the worldwide ramifications of the rule in the coming year," said USA Cycling President & CEO Steve Johnson. "In the meantime, we are pleased that enforcement of the rule will be suspended for another year."
UCI general regulations include a section called "Forbidden Races". Within it, Rule 1.2.019 states, "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." Related rules 1.2.020 and 1.2.021 provide additional details, including specifying punishment via fine or suspension for all UCI licence holders who violate the rule.
The rules are not new - they have been around for years; but the mandate on how to interpret and enforce them had changed early in 2013. Then, with more potential riders affected by the rules and its enforcement, many riders protested. The UCI decided to postpone enforcement of the rules until 2014.
The rules were applied to all disciplines and levels of cycling, but were opposed loudly by many mountain bikers in the US, who have historically competed in races not sanctioned by their national governing body. Some road and 'cross racers were also affected.
The rules were technically an issue for high school racers, local amateurs and regional racers as well as pros, many of whom like to compete at their local grassroots events and big-money races, including certain enduros, cross country races, stage races and the well known Whiskey 50, which are run independently of USA Cycling.
A review of the rule is one of the promises Brian Cookson made in 2013 during his ultimately successful campaign to become UCI President.