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- The UCI said it will discipline riders who compete in an e-bike enduro event held by the International Motorcycling Federation.
- Claiming exclusive authority over e-bike racing, the UCI warned licensed riders not to participate in “banned events.”
- The UCI will hold its first e-mountain bike world championship this summer.
Just weeks after announcing its first-ever electric mountain bike championship to be held in Canada this summer, the UCI is taking steps to impede another e-bike race hosted by a different organization.
On Friday, the UCI threatened to punish licensed riders if they participate the E-Bike Enduro World Cup, which the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) will host in France this June.
In a statement, the UCI said it was “very surprised and disappointed” that the FIM, motorcycling’s world governing body, would hold an e-bike series. It also argued that, as the world governing body for bicycling, e-bike racing should fall under the UCI’s purview alone.
“[The UCI] wishes to make it clear that e-mountain bike… is one of the disciplines under its auspices,” the statement read. It added that the group will consider FIM-held e-bike races “banned events” and that consequently, “any UCI-licensed rider participating in one of these events would risk disciplinary measures.”
This public tug-of-war further muddies the already-heated debate over how, exactly, to categorize e-bikes. Though not motorcycles by definition, e-bikes clearly have some appeal in that market: Motorcycle manufacturers have begun rolling out their own models, like Yamaha’s cross country YDX-Torc 27.5 hardtail mountain bike.
“Power-assisted bicycles and electric-powered cycles are not recent products and have long been part of the history of FIM,” said FIM president Jorge Viegas in a statement. “In fact the early motorcycles were much based on a bicycle frame with the addition of an engine, so the story has really returned back to the beginning of our evolution.
“We are convinced that e-bike competitions have great potential and will allow young riders to participate in exciting new races,” Viegas added. “Also we will soon announce another e-bike competition to take place later this year.”
But the UCI said it will continue to fight for sole official oversight over e-bike racing, and that it “already notified the FIM in September 2017 that it considered e-mountain bike events to come exclusively under its jurisdiction.”
UCI president David Lappartient echoed this idea in his own statement.
“I am delighted by the boom currently enjoyed by e-mountain bike, a specialty that enables a new public to take up mountain biking,” he said. “The UCI means to develop this activity which, as with other forms of cycling, comes under its exclusive jurisdiction.”