Postman Pat’s Bad Mail

I wasn’t going to comment on this unless it became public knowledge, I saw the letter yesterday and was hoping it would blow over and a clarification of a clarification was going to be issued. Unfortunately it’s not, the resulting chaos is one that could affect the development of the sport and avoid riders joining their UCI recognised national cycling federation, for us in Scotland, that’s essentially Scottish Cycling, but as I’ve explained before it’s really British Cycling who issue the licences.

CyclingNews are carrying a story on it here.

The Letter, in full, from Pat McQuaid to US Cycling President.

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 license holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognized 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 organized 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 license 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 organized by persons or entities who do not belong to the world of organized sport. For example, an event may be organized 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 organized by a person or entity who regularly organizes cycling events.

CH 1860 Aigle I Switzerland
Q)+41 24 468 58 11 fax +41 24 468 58 12

The objective of Article 1.2.019 is that exemptions should only be granted in exceptional cases.

Licenseholders 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


What it means to us

I was hoping for a clarification, because this has very far-reaching implications in Scotland. Consider all the sportive events which are not on the BC calendar, any TLI events, some grass track events etc, they would all represent cycle events that could carry sanctions for riders who also have a UCI licence (you can see on your licence it has a UCI number, you have a UCI licence). It’s even worse for our friends down south, who have all time trials out with UCI governance!

This kind of draconian attitude is going to put riders off from a normal progression of sportive rider, to club rider, to racer. If sanctions are implemented here, then we’ll have no riders coming through into the sport from unsanctioned sportives, of which there are many, they would lose the ability to go back and ride those events if they took out a racing licence and were fined & sanctioned as a result. It looks like the UCI are trying to reduce their market, by excluding all but the current club riders, either that or Pat McQuaid is a complete idiot. I’ll go with the latter.



  1. Thinking about this, wouldn’t Jimmy Mac end up getting banned for taking part in (winning) Dig in at Boness last year? in other words punsihed for supporting and helping develop local grass roots cycleracing – typical UCI / fatpat ****ery.

    1. Aye, he would, it’s a daft idea. Alex Dowsett & Wiggo riding 10’s down south, banned! Anybody in a non BC registered sportive, probably loads of the Gran Fondo type events abroad have their own insurance, 10,000 riders banned. It’s daft.

  2. Why has this edict been handed down? Is there any specific context or example that the UCI is trying to combat. Very concerning for the likes of DIg In, The Bute Cycling Festival and many sportives, as you mention. I and I’m sure many others found a route in to UCI/BC sanctioned race events through sportives run by the likes of No Fuss Events.

    1. It could be a reaction to Armstrong attempting to take part in any sporting event, perhaps closing a door for him too. Maybe an attempt to bring everything under the UCI umbrella and raise revenue from it? But that will backfire, a decision like this could result in the UCI being less relevant rather than the other way about, think how many participants there are in non SC/BC events, sportives, offroad events, charity events, etc, those are mass participation, most SC events are limited to 60 or 80 riders or 120 for TT’s. So the minority events may be inside SC/BC, it could be a power game the UCI won’t win internationally, it could help by getting rid of Pat for good and carrying on with a future modern progressive UCI. We do need the UCI, as I blogged previously..

    1. Interesting commentary on the Spokesmen Round Table Cycling Podcast a few days ago. Byron from the Bikehugger blog reckons it is some sort of power struggle emanating from the US. There are TLI-type bodies there that the American UCI beaks have been warring with for ages. Also insinuations continued corruption and money-grabbing of the sort that ‘led to Lance Armstrong’.

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