USA Cycling Officials

March 2014 Rule of the Month
Post: Mar 14, 2014 by Tom Mahoney under category "Rule Interpretation"
March’s rules of the month involve the concept of professional riders 1D2, 1H9(l), and 1H9(m):
1D2. Professional Categories
In addition to the numerical categories above, Road, Track, and MTB also have the category of Professional.
(a) Road and Track: A professional rider on the road or track is one who is a current member of a UCI road or track team, respectively.
(b) Mountain Bike: A professional rider in MTB is one who is a current member of a UCI MTB team or who has earned that category via other USA Cycling procedures.

This rule just clarifies what constitutes a professional in three disciplines. For road and track, it is simple. If you are on a UCI team, you are a professional. Everyone else is not. For MTB, it is either being on a UCI team or just being categorized that way. At present, the word “pro” really has two meanings. The first is a “business category” like it is on the road, such that your affiliation to a UCI team makes you a pro. The second is just an ability category, like cat 2 or cat 1. As such, a person without a team could still be categorized as a pro.
The definition becomes important for several things, most notably governance, where election to some positions of our sport committees is reserved for professionals, as well as eligibility issues for masters events and certain National Championships. Nobody that is a professional can ever ride masters events whether nationally or internationally.

1H9(l) Riders on UCI Continental teams and UCI Women’s teams may only enter domestic events that specifically include professionals on the permit and the race flyer (i.e. Pro/1/2), otherwise they are ineligible.
While this may not be a  big change in practice, there will be times when it is important. In the past, there was a rule that said a UCI continental team rider could participate in any event open to men’s cat 1. While most cat 1 races would want the pros to participate, that rule made it impossible for a Race Director to offer an “amateur” cat 1 event with no pros in it. The same was true for women’s races. With this new rule, the Race Director can decide. Thus, if the flyer says Pro/1 or Pro/1/2, then pros are eligible, but if it said cat 1-2, then they would not be. This also helps control an unintended consequence of the old rule, which was pros dropping out of an NRC stage race and then cherry picking the amateur cat 1-2 race that often took place on the same venue.
(m) Professional riders are not eligible for State Championships unless a separate category has been established for them.
This last one just sets the default that professional riders should not be riding in State Championships. Often the state championship is the key event in an amateur cat 1 racer’s season, and really should be their showcase rather than a training race for professionals.