Professional-level women’s road cycling is full of opportunity, not just in the big classic races, but with the chance to compete for your nation in international competition. The glory and personal satisfaction of representing your country in the World Championships or Olympics can be a career goal all by itself.
Many riders in The Cyclists’ Alliance are members of their respective national teams. Being a member of your national team comes with huge responsibilities; you have to balance your racing schedule between your trade team, a national schedule of training camps and selection races like your national championships, and international Confederation events such as the Commonwealth Games. For many women racing today, maintaining a funded spot in the national team (also commonly called a ‘high performance program’ – or the pool of athletes from which national team members are selected) is an important economic objective as well as a great source of pride.
The Board of the Alliance and many of its trusted advisers have competed internationally and understand your goals, and how the systems of most national team programs really work on the inside. We want you to know that you have many guaranteed rights as a member of your national team, and we can help you to find amicable solutions if your rights are ever in question.
For example, did you know that the UCI guarantees your right to train with, race for, and use the services of your national team even if your trade team contract is written in a way to forbid this? In the current Standard Conditions (Article 6, Part 4) which are part of the UCI Regulations for UCI Women’s and men’s Continental teams, as long as you are a current member of your national team or its high performance program, you have the right to attend national team training camps and your national championships, and compete in international events like the Pan-Am Games ‒ even if these interfere with attending races for your trade team.
In fact, any clauses which are written into your team contract that interfere with your rights to compete with or be a member of your national team are invalid.
The Regulation also provides a critical secondary protection: it more clearly defines the legal positions of rider, team, and sponsor relationships. As a rider, you are only under the contract of the team and not the sponsor – the team and the sponsor have their own contract with each other. A sponsor therefore can’t directly sue riders, it can only sue the team with whom it has a contract. This is a very important distinction because the Regulation not only guarantees your right to race for your country, but it protects you from many kinds of disputes. This places more responsibilities on team owners and managers to understand a rider’s rights, and to know how the UCI’s regulations set proper working conditions today.
We are currently working with the UCI to improve your working conditions, and with our legal advisers and other partners in international sports, The Cyclists’ Alliance is dedicated to uphold your rights as a competitive, professional cyclist. If you have a question about your rights and can’t find the answers on your own, please contact us and we will help you quickly find a solution! And if you are not yet a member of The Cyclists’ Alliance please join today!