Club or Team?
Road and Track
Road and track cycling has grown up under the control of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body for the sport of cycling. Essentially, non-professionals (amateurs) ride for clubs, professional cyclists ride for UCI teams. The UCI only recognizes those teams that are registered through the UCI. The UCI divides road teams into the following categories: UCI Women's teams, UCI Continental Teams, UCI Professional Continental Teams, and UCI Protour Teams. UCI Women's teams and UCI Continental teams are managed directly by USA Cycling but must be officially registered with the UCI. UCI Professional Continental Teams and Protour teams are managed directly by the UCI. For more information, please visit the UCI road cycling web site.
In the past, USA Cycling recognized certain trade teams that weren't recognized by the UCI, but this has changed. In addition, the UCI has tightened up the enforcement of its own regulations, so it has become much harder for U.S. teams to become registered with the UCI. To find out how to become a UCI registered trade team, please call USA Cycling's Technical Director, Shawn Farrell, at 719-866-3364. There is also a dedicated page on this website for our UCI teams. Click here to go to our UCI team page.
So where does that leave all the other cycling teams? Well, cycling tradition says you ride for a club - either a sponsored or an unsponsored club. Many riders refer to their sponsored club as a team (or segments of their club as riding on a team). USA Cycling recognizes clubs and teams. If you are not registered with one, you will see "unattached" status on your license. Your club administrator(s) may register a sponsor designation for your club (only one such designation can be attached to a club), which would then appear on your license. If they don't choose to provide this information, or because your club has several different teams, each with their own sponsors, you may see "sponsored club" on your license, which indicates your club's registered status. It's up to you to provide your sponsor with appropriate recognition by duly noting your sponsors on your event entry forms.
By the way, only riders who belong to clubs can be sponsored; all others are considered unattached riders and are supposed to compete in clothing that doesn't bear any sponsorship identification. If your club isn't sponsored, then you are supposed to use clothing in USCF permitted events that bears only your club name (or unmarked clothing).
A National Federation (USA Cycling) can establish a tiered club structure and a method of allowing club participation in events based on that tiered structure. There currently isn't such a structure in the United States, although many other UCI affiliated federations use such methods. As a consequence, you'll find different levels of clubs in many European countries and your participation in events in those countries may be controlled by your club membership (France being a good example). USA Cycling designates categories for events on the National Racing Calendar, as well as USA Cycling ROad Development Race Series calendar. This is for purposes of assigning points for ranking purposes, but it is also essentially the event categorizing that the UCI uses for establishing event participation.
Mountain biking originally grew up outside the UCI club/team structure, but this has now changed and there are UCI-registered mountain bike teams. The UCI requires any and all teams that wish to be included in the UCI mountain bike team rankings to provide the UCI with team registration documentation which includes rider contracts.
This Article Published January 29, 2004 For more information contact: