About thirteen years ago, USA Cycling hired McKinsey and Company, a Chicago based consulting firm to help USA Cycling develop a mission across all disciplines. After the arduous process*, USA Cycling adopted the following mission and vision statements which stands today.
The vision of USA Cycling is to make the United States of America the most successful country in the world of competitive cycling.
The mission of USA Cycling is to achieve sustained success in international cycling competition and grow competitive cycling in America.
I support this mission. This mission has two parts. Each part can be measured with a variety of metrics such as top eight places by Americans in UCI and Olympic events, especially Grand Tours, i.e: Le Tour de France, which as an event defines international and professional cycling in the eyes of Americans. Other metrics are the number of UCI trade teams, the number of continental teams, the number of elite riders with contract.
These international success metrics apply to all disciplines and to both men and women competition.
For the second part of USA Cycling’s mission – Grow competitive cycling in America – measurement includes the number of permitted events, number of licensed riders, number of participation days, etc.
Please accept this framework for the remainder of my post.
In my opinion, USA Cycling has a problem. By all accounts, the UCI is now demanding that USA Cycling enforce UCI 1.2.019 for all licensees across all disciplines – which in my opinion is likely to:
Reduce the rate of growth in competitive cycling in the United States.
I first read a thread about a month ago that the reasoning behind this action was to avoid potential liability to the UCI and USA Cycling when and where event participants were both amateur and professional such as Oregon’s Cascade Classic.
The concern – USA cycling has a higher event performance standard than non-sanctioned non-USA cycling events, that dual sanction events, by their nature, create ambiguity between co-existing event insurance policies, further complicated by potential conflicts between standard practices as required USA Cycling Insurance and another insurance company.
“The decision by USA Cycling going forward is that we will not accept a permit for an event that is dual sanctioned (meaning an event that is held the same day on the same course),” As quoted in a Cycling News article from an email sent to Cycling News from USAC Communications Director Bill Kellick.1
“Many of the tasks required by USA Cycling officials at a dual-sanctioned event must be conducted prior to USA Cycling’s insurance coverage that is outlined in the permit,” as quoted in Cycling News by Mr. Kellick.2
Chad Sperry who promotes the Cascade Classic and has managed the duel sanctioning of his event for years, To quote from Cycling News:
“So if we had to choose one sanctioning body, we went with the majority of where our participants and clientele have their registration and licensing from, and with this it was USA Cycling,” he said.2″
These statements published in the middle of March 2013 are remarkably different than the reasoning give by USA Cycling’s recent day clarification of UCI Rule 1.2.019.
More or less this statement is about a licensee’s affiliation and has nothing to do do with event insurance.
I ask – How can USA Cycling resolve the differences in these two positions?
Moving past the obfuscation of the issue and back to part two of USA Cycling’s mission – to grow competitive cycling in the United States – I see no path that would not weaken organizations such as the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) or force the dissolution of an association such as the American Bicycle Association – (ABA) by USA Cycling enforcing UCI 1.2.019
OBRA, in particular, has thrived as an independent bicycle racing association. Every OBRA event in which I have participated has offered high quality and competent officials, challenging and fair courses, and well organized promoters.
Indeed, OBRA invests one-hundred percent back into its own community.
OBRA does not directly per se, invest in developing elite level riders – or do they?
Any community or organization that is responsible for the sanctioning of over 300 calendar events per year for years ought not be considered slacking in terms of growing competitive cycling. Growing Competitive Cycling is exactly what OBRA does, and arguably OBRA has done at least as good a job as that of USA Cycling.
And there you have it.
USA Cycling can rationalize all day long that, as the recognized National Governing Body of bicycle racing in the United States, they are obliged to follow UCI mandates.
It seems that USA Cycling will acquiesce as having no choice in the matter, even if the mandate is in conflict with the mission.
That’s too bad.
USA Cycling is forfeiting a chance to lead. USA Cycling is forfeiting its principles. For what? A seat at the table? More UCI events in the United States? More American representation on the various UCI committees?