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Old 07-15-09, 12:31 PM   #1
clockwise
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Racing in Europe: Some Questions

Hi, I originally posted this in the regular ol' Road Cycling Forum, and was advised to repost it here, so here goes:

I'm heading over to Italy for about three months to do some racing, and have some unanswered questions. I'm a Cat 2 in the US, and want to race at the Elite level when I get there, but I've been unable to find a calendar for Elite races except for U23.

Also, I don't have a European team yet, and would appreciate any pointers on hooking up with one of them.

Finally, I know that I need a UCI license and permission letters from USAC, but what about the Italian Federation? Do I need to buy an Italian racing license as well?

Thanks for the help. I speak limited Italian and trying to navigate the less-than-crystal clear FCI website has been tough.
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Old 07-15-09, 12:43 PM   #2
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do not go to Italy for cycling, but the girls are good!

Unfortunately cycling is a little more difficult than you think. There are a lot of talented cyclists here in the US, and even more in Europe. Some countries are easier to race than others.
Italy is most probably the hardest, with races averaging 160 to 240km, with dozens of climbs thrown in, and the more climbs they throw, the "better" the race.

However, even if you are a top Cat 1 racer here, you will most probably not finish any races in Europe even. The races in Europe often start with about 240 riders, and only about 10 or 15 finish. (In Italy that is). That is the typical formula for races, be it crits, circuits and road races.

If you win 2 or 3 amateur races in Italy, you will most probably get a Pro contract in a Division 3 team. However, to win a race in Italy, you first have to spend years just trying to finish, then, another few years to finish with the first group, then a few more years to actually win, then a few more years to actually win more than 2 races in one year.

If you have never ridden a bike on cobble stones, do not go to Europe. If you have never ridden your bike in the rain for 5 hours, do not go to Europe. If you have never ridden your bike in icy or light snow for 5 hours, do not go to Europe. If you have never trained for 9 hours in a day, do not go to Europe. If you have never collapsed off your bike or "bonked" 2 miles from home, do not go to Europe. If you have never had a back, elbow, knee or hip with a graze the size of a large coffee mug, do not go to Europe, If you have never crashed into a car at high speed on your bike, do not go to Europe. If you have never stopped riding because your legs are cramping to the point of failure, do not go to Europe. If you have never thrown up, or had Diarrhea in your shorts because a climb is too hard you lose control over your stomach or bowel, do not go to Europe. If your fingers havent been stung swollen by hail stones, dont go to Europe
In short, do not go to Europe.

Not the answer you want to hear, but as others have stated, save yourself the heartache
I personally have no helpful information on the subject.
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Old 07-15-09, 12:48 PM   #3
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^ if you're going to quote that, at least link to Botto's rebuttal that refutes some of the bull.
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Old 07-15-09, 12:59 PM   #4
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HAHAHA, pretty encouraging. I'm not worried though, the harder it is the more I'll learn, right? I just need to figure out what hoops I need to jump through, even if I'm jumping through them only to get my ass stomped. So again, any help with the bureaucratic requirements?
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Old 07-15-09, 01:08 PM   #5
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^ if you're going to quote that, at least link to Botto's rebuttal that refutes some of the bull.
what thread is that from?
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Old 07-15-09, 01:15 PM   #6
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The Road to Professional Racing

see post 103.
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Old 07-15-09, 01:42 PM   #7
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When are you going--- the season is pretty much over already.

I doubt you will have an easy time racing elite, having no history there. You will likely find the "citizen" races plenty competitive--- and you don't need a UCI license for those.
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Old 07-15-09, 01:47 PM   #8
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a teammate of mine just got done racing in France... there is some info in his blog: http://gfitstudio.blogspot.com/ (go down a few posts, one explains their catagories etc. and he is a cat2 here)
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Old 07-15-09, 02:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post
Hi, I originally posted this in the regular ol' Road Cycling Forum, and was advised to repost it here, so here goes:

I'm heading over to Italy for about three months to do some racing, and have some unanswered questions. I'm a Cat 2 in the US, and want to race at the Elite level when I get there, but I've been unable to find a calendar for Elite races except for U23.

Also, I don't have a European team yet, and would appreciate any pointers on hooking up with one of them.

Finally, I know that I need a UCI license and permission letters from USAC, but what about the Italian Federation? Do I need to buy an Italian racing license as well?

Thanks for the help. I speak limited Italian and trying to navigate the less-than-crystal clear FCI website has been tough.
There are no categories in Italy for racing, only age-graded. So whether you are a Cat5 or Cat2 you race in the same category.

You don't need a UCI license, but a USAC International license. You also need the Foreign Permission Letters, but I never needed them or was asked for them. You should also have some proof of health insurance just in case.

Italian Federation wise you will likely not run races under FCI, but probably UDACE. You do not need anything from them, your USAC International Elite license will be enough.
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Old 07-15-09, 05:51 PM   #10
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Thanks guys. I found a listing of amatoriale races on the FCI website, but haven't found a calendar of Elite races for >23. Anybody have any clues on that one?
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Old 07-15-09, 06:14 PM   #11
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a teammate of mine just got done racing in France... there is some info in his blog: http://gfitstudio.blogspot.com/ (go down a few posts, one explains their catagories etc. and he is a cat2 here)

"Paris-Chalette is tomorrow. 15 white-knuckle neutral start then 130k full-out. The great Eddy Merckx is the guest director for the race so it will be insane. As of now only 90 riders have signed up for 180 spots which is highly unusual for a race this big. There will be random doping controls at this one, so that is one depressing explanation for the low turnout. "



...interesting.
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Old 07-15-09, 06:22 PM   #12
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When are you going--- the season is pretty much over already.

I doubt you will have an easy time racing elite, having no history there. You will likely find the "citizen" races plenty competitive--- and you don't need a UCI license for those.
WTF? He's a Cat2. They're not superheros over there. Oxygen gets turned into power in the same way, you still win races by being first across the line, and wheels still roll.
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Old 07-15-09, 06:37 PM   #13
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WTF? He's a Cat2. They're not superheros over there. Oxygen gets turned into power in the same way, you still win races by being first across the line, and wheels still roll.
+1. He may be deficient in bike handling when compared to the Euros, but 2s can race a bike.
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Old 07-15-09, 07:08 PM   #14
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Thanks for the votes of confidence guys
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Old 07-15-09, 07:15 PM   #15
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Go to Europe and kick their asses. Get a contract and go pro. Hell, someone has to do it.
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Old 07-15-09, 09:27 PM   #16
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I have a friend who spent a month or two in Belgium racing and staying with the national team. He is a 2 here and it was an offer extended based on some people he knew. From what he says other than the cultural differences, the biggest challenge was adapting to the racing style there. I too believe, that in terms of fitness you won't have much trouble keeping up; just give yourself some time to adapt to the differences in racing style. Sorry, I know this doesn't help in terms of the original topic but I think it's important to emphasize a breath of confidence.
~Nick
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Old 07-17-09, 12:24 AM   #17
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HAHAHA, pretty encouraging. I'm not worried though, the harder it is the more I'll learn, right? I just need to figure out what hoops I need to jump through, even if I'm jumping through them only to get my ass stomped. So again, any help with the bureaucratic requirements?
Please start a thread here when you get there, please keep us posted when you race.

You should be able to do "citizen races" in which case, if you finish anywhere in the top 30 let us know. If you manage to race proper U23 races, and you manage to finish a race, please post links to race results.

Good luck
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Old 07-17-09, 12:37 AM   #18
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I have a friend who spent a month or two in Belgium racing ......
Belgium is not Italy.

It is going to be HOT in July and even hotter in August. The races will have much fewer riders between July and August than other months. September sees a little surge of guys trying to pack in a few wins before the season starts to wind down. The races are also a little slower in July and August because of the heat and the Tour De France, they dont organize as many races, and a lot of the top guys take some easy riding time and dont race as they prepare for last quarter of the season. So it will be a good time to go for you. Make sure you have 2 water bottle cages!
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Old 07-17-09, 02:58 AM   #19
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Belgium is not Italy.

It is going to be HOT in July and even hotter in August. The races will have much fewer riders between July and August than other months. September sees a little surge of guys trying to pack in a few wins before the season starts to wind down. The races are also a little slower in July and August because of the heat and the Tour De France, they dont organize as many races, and a lot of the top guys take some easy riding time and dont race as they prepare for last quarter of the season. So it will be a good time to go for you. Make sure you have 2 water bottle cages!
please go back to fantasy land.
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Old 07-17-09, 08:49 AM   #20
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Please start a thread here when you get there, please keep us posted when you race.
Will do, guys.
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