In a seemingly trivial letter the UCI has dropped a bombshell that will effect many grass root enduro races! The focus of the letter was the clarification of a rule that now prohibits racers from participating in unsanctioned races i.e. races that are not run under the national federation’s regulation. Most of the “big” races are sanctioned by national federations so will be exempt from this ruling, but grassroots enduro racing is made up of many excellent unsanctioned events that capture the spirit and freedom of enduro. Under the ruling, pro riders will no longer be able to compete in these events without risking suspension and fines! This clarificiation has met a storm of protest and there is a petition online which we strongly recommend you support, click here!

The official letter:

To all National Federations, 26 March 2013

Dear President,
It has recently come to our attention that some National Federations are experiencing difficulties in the interpretation and application of the rules relating to “forbidden races”, namely Articles 1.2.019,
1.2.020 and 1.2.021 of the UCI Regulations.

With this in mind, we would like to provide the following clarification which we hope you will find useful. Article 1.2.019 of the UCI Regulations 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.
A national federation may grant special exceptions for races or particular events run in its own country.”
The objective of this regulation is to protect the hard work and resources you pour into the development of your events at national level. It allows for a federative structure, something which is inherent in organised sport and which is essential to being a part of the Olympic movement.
Of course the regulation also allows the UCI, in line with its mission as an international federation, to guarantee uniform regulation.

Article 1.2.019 applies to all licence holders, without exception. It does not solely concern professional riders or just the members of UCI teams, contrary to certain statements in the press and on some blogs.
The second paragraph of Article 1.2.019 affords each national federation the facility to grant a special exception for specific races or events taking place in its territory.
Special races or events are understood to be cycle events which are not registered on the national calendar of the country’s federation or on the UCI international calendar. This generally concerns events that are occasional and which do not recur, most often organised by persons or entities who do not belong to the world of organised sport. For example, an event may be organised by an association that does not have a link to the National Federation, such as a race specifically for members of the armed forces, fire fighters or students or perhaps as part of a national multisport event.
With the exception of these special cases, the National Federation is not permitted to grant an exemption to a cycle event which is held, deliberately or not, outside the federative movement. For example, in no case should an exception be granted to a cycling event that is organised by a person or entity who regularly organises cycling events.
The objective of Article 1.2.019 is that exemptions should only be granted in exceptional cases.
Licence holders who participate in a “forbidden race” make themselves liable not only to sanctions by their National Federation, as scheduled by Article 1.2.021 of the UCI regulations, but also run the risk of not having sufficient insurance cover in the event of an accident.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please accept our kindest regards,

Pat McQuaid,

It’s a very delicate topic at the moment, not only a problem for the top-riders who enjoy riding local unsanctioned (enduro) races, but also “normal” racers who mostly ride unsanctioned local races and want to participate in the (sanctioned) Superenduro race (licence is obligatory). They will now be left with only two options, to race “wild & free” or under the limited belt of the UCI.

At a point where enduro is passing through an important but fragile transition phase, it would seem that the UCI’s need to clarify this ruling presents an obvious attempt to upset the enthusiasm and excitement growing around the non UCI controlled discipline. Enduro has been forged on the foundations of participation, with increasing entries from pro level riders only serving to demonstrate its popularity. This will be a decision that will unnecessarily restrict riders keen to enjoy the diverse range of events available, and make it impossible for grass roots riders to enjoy racing with their pro level heroes!.

Here are some statements – what do you think?

“Sometimes it happens when something new arises that old rules don’t work anymore. It’s necessary to face the reality and change or at least adapt these rules. We basically started talking about the Enduro World Series at the UCI. So we got to know each other at the UCI and when they decided to “postpone” the project the preparation and expectations of the industry and riders was already there. We felt we had the responsibility towards the riders and the industry to basically complete the project. It would be unfair to take away from the riders the chance to take part in this project that originally started with the UCI.” Enrico Guala, organizer Superenduro.

“Dear @UCI_cycling I do NOT like it that you tell me what I can & cant race. I have a passion for racing but NOT for your politics!!” Anneke Beerten on Twitter.

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About the author

Robin Schmitt

Robin is one of the two founders of 41 Publishing, a visionary and go-getter. While he now enjoys every second on the bike – whenever his busy schedule allows – he used to race against the clock at enduro events and a few Downhill World Cups. Besides that, Robin practises kung fu and Zen meditation, plays the cello or with his dog (which actually belongs to his girlfriend), travels abroad and still reviews numerous bikes himself. Progressive ideas, new projects and major challenges – Robin loves exploring undiscovered potential and getting to the bottom of new trends.