USA Cycling responds to US Cup's sanctioning withdrawal

USA Cycling responded to the US Cup's rationale for no longer permitting its events with them. Last week, the US Cup, which organizes regional and national-level races, said it would no longer sanction any of its races with USAC, effective immediately. The US Cup has organized events that are part of USA Cycling's Pro XCT and Pro UET - the national-level cross country and endurance calendars, respectively.

USA Cycling President & CEO Steve Johnson told Cyclingnews, "While we are disappointed to lose any events, we will continue to strive to improve the Pro XCT and Pro UET series with input from all of the stakeholders and our Mountain Bike Committee. These calendars feature some of the best mountain bike races in the country and provide a showcase for not only the outstanding venues of these events, but also a platform for the top riders and teams to display their talent."

The US Cup pulled the plug on sanctioning to protest the lack of change to the controversial UCI Rule 1.2.019, which is set to go back into effect and be enforced on January 1, 2014. The rule prohibits racers in all cycling disciplines from competing in races which are not sanctioned by USAC or the UCI.

The US Cup also took the opportunity of bowing out of USAC sanctioning to say that it didn't "feel compelled to support the USAC for its two series, the Pro XCT and Pro UET when they refuse to mitigate costs, promote the series or enforce proper course set up and on-site management. In fact, they don't even send a full USAC officiating crew to ensure a consistent management and feel for the events."

USA Cycling offered to clear up what it called "a few misconceptions" about the events on its national calendars.

The concept of a "calendar" vs. a "series" as defined by USAC was first addressed.

"There seems to be some confusion regarding the differences between a 'calendar' of events and a 'series' of events," said Johnson. "The bottom line is that the Pro XCT and Pro UET are not a 'series' with common sponsors and a completely consistent look and feel, but rather they are part of a 'calendar' that include the top events in the nation, each of which is privately owned and operated by individual owners or companies.

"The US Cup is a great example of a series - they have sponsors that support the entire series as well as the individual events; and the events have a consistent activation platform.

"In this case, USA Cycling has created a calendar of the top events that individual race directors can be a part of, but we don't mandate any protection of sponsors and let each event have their own format, feel, and vibe that they want."

Secondly, Johnson spoke on the subject of race permitting expenses. "We also want to make clear the costs for the race director in our mountain bike event permitting process. USA Cycling permits are only $100 per day for any event with fewer than 500 participants. If you subtract the membership support and internal overhead we have for those events, they are not a major source of net revenue."

Finally, he talked about what it means to be a "calendar" event and how that is similar or different to what it used to mean to be part of the US national series of races when it was known as "the NORBA series", then under the auspices of the National Off-Road Mountain Bike Association, which eventually became part of USAC.

"USA Cycling assigns officials to every Pro XCT while the UCI will always assign the chief referee to each UCI event that is on the Pro XCT. Remember, these races are part of calendar, not a series, so we do not send USA Cycling management to each event because we have no ownership or sponsorship of the individual events; and we don't mandate a similar look/feel/management style at each event like we do at our owned properties.

"The Pro XCT and Pro UET calendars are nothing like the NORBA National Championship Series model which was owned and operated by USA Cycling - these are individual races that elect to be on a top-tier, national calendar."

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.