The International Cycling Union UCI has bowed to pressure and will not enforce a rule penalising licensed athletes from competing in non-sanctioned events.
However cycling's international governing body said it still planned to to enforce the rule next season.
"The UCI listened to the feedback from the various groups involved and who feel affected by a strict and immediate enforcement of rule 1.2.019 and its associated sanctions. The UCI has decided to postpone strict enforcement of rule 1.2.019 in 2013 with the expectation that all stakeholders (National Federations, race directors, teams and riders) will discuss and do what is necessary to prepare for the rule’s full enforcement in 2014," the UCI said in a statement Thursday.
The sudden enforcement of the rule in the United States provoked a storm of protest, with stakeholders claiming it would affect the development of racing in that country, with mountain biking particularly threatened.
USA Cycling president and CEO Steve Johnson thanked the UCI for its “willingness to suspend enforcement of the rule globally" but said the rule needs to be debated more fully.
"Notwithstanding the fact that rule 1.2.019 has been enforced in Europe for many years, it is clear strict enforcement in the U.S. and other countries will have unintended and undesirable consequences," said Johnson,
"USA Cycling listened to the views expressed by the cycling community in America, and these issues were fully represented in discussions with the UCI. We would like to thank the UCI for its willingness to suspend enforcement of the rule globally to allow time for productive dialogue with all stakeholders to find a workable solution for the future.”