Have a Camera Racing, Get DQ’d

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I saw an article at Cyclingnews that said that Thijs van Amerongen was disqualified from the Superprestige round in Gieten last weekend, after the fact, because he had a camera on his bicycle that was streaming live video.   The article says that because Thijs wasn’t “granted permission, before the race, the race jury booted him and his 12th place finish.

This is the first I’ve even thought about this, so it is just going to be my initial impressions.

1st,  I don’t know of any UCI rule that says that a rider can’t do live video while racing.  But there must be one.

2nd, do you think that he would have been DQ’d if he was just using the camera for video for future use and not streaming the race live?  This is the only reason that I can see that would make any sense is that they are worried about competition for their television rights.

I suppose the race owns the rights to the broadcast and maybe there is a clause in in the waiver that says that you can’t stream the race.  I wonder if that same clause is included when you buy a ticket to watch the race.  Would they have booted a spectator that was streaming the race from wherever they were standing?

I’m not sure where I stand on this.  I can see both sides of the issue.

I’m wondering if I would get kicked out of a UCI race that hadn’t sold TV rights and wasn’t being streamed live?    I very much doubt it.   But, they would really have to if they wanted to enforce the rules uniformly.  Your thoughts?

And I had just gotten a new Shimano camera a couple weeks ago.

And I had just gotten a new Shimano camera a couple weeks ago.

Plus, Barfly camera mounts.

Plus, Barfly camera mounts.


32 thoughts on “Have a Camera Racing, Get DQ’d

  1. Krakatoa (East of Java)

    That’s just it. The race itself is the intellectual property of the owners. Perhaps they tried to sell streaming (or tv) rights previously, and did not succeed. There is probably a very specific reason they got pissed about live streaming. What if the rider is getting compensated by a website (during their race) and they’re getting zilch? I doubt that A-Rod has the right to strap a gopro to his batting helmet and sell the footage to a third party.

    Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    1. Larry T.

      I’m with Kraky on this one. Velon and the like go on and on about the big value of TV rights and on-board video, so this should be no surprise. From an aesthetic point-of-view I find all this claptrap, as in GPS units, phones, cameras, etc. to be really ugly. I have to chuckle when everyone has to have an “aero” road helmet to save those 4 watts, but then they bolt crap like these cameras onto the front of their bikes. Why can’t folks just be happy to DO stuff? Does everything have to be filmed and shared?

    2. Chris C.

      Steve, during the Sporza broadcast of the race (see 2:42minute mark in the link) they used live onboard video from one of the riders. I don’t know if that rider was Thijs van Amerongen or not. I suspect it wasn’t, and Sporza complained of their ownership rights to the broadcast of the race.

      If the rider at the 2:42 minute mark (and elsewhere – live onboard footage appears a few more times during the beginning of the race) is in fact Thijs van Amerongen, then perhaps Sporza never got approval from the UCI before they set him up with the camera and transmitting system.

      Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izoPDFvzRfg
      or search “2015-16 Veldrijden Cyclocross – Superprestige Round 1 – Gieten” by cyclocrossable on Youtube.

  2. bob

    One would hope there is some UCI rule that addresses this, other than those outlining the authority a race jury has.

    Or at least some kind of notice or agreement executed by the teams when they entered the race.

    But you’ve made it clear that you only follow the rules you want to, Steve. Certainly not the one that doesn’t allow you to wear WC stripes on your sleeve in disciplines and categories you haven’t earned them. Nope.

    1. Krakatoa East of Java

      I think that rule sucks. Any past WC (in any discipline) should be allowed to wear WC piping on the collar and sleeve, no matter what kind of event they’re competing in.

      1. bob

        Well, obviously I disagree.

        It’s an elite group. You want to wear stripes on your sleeves in everything you do, go win a national championships–which Tilford has done obviously. But the WC colors are prettier and more prestigious, aren’t they?

        That’s one thing the pro guys know how to do better than Tilford. I mean, Tilford could teach those guys a thing or two about cornering in the rain and echeloning, but you’ll never catch Cavendish or Boonen with WC stripes on their sleeves in a time trial.

    2. Krakatoa East of Java

      “but you’ll never catch Cavendish or Boonen with WC stripes on their sleeves in a time trial.”

      Bob, you’re comparing manhole covers to canned hams here. Tilly’s not riding on a WorldTour team. Those guys have such resources that they can hop on a green bike the morning after taking the points jersey (a custom-made green jersey, I might ad). Tilly gets issued his kit once a year. They’re not going to make one set of jerseys with piping and another set without. He competes on both road and MTB.

      How many championships have you won?

      1. bob

        Every clothing manufacturer I’ve ever dealt with will put championship stripes on the sleeves for free, and why wouldn’t they? It’s free notoriety for them. And Steve would only need a few when he races Masters CX races. So, that was a poor argument you made.

        An even worse argument is ad hominem – the argument of those who have no substance.

      2. Lionel

        The clothing rule does not define that it only applies to WorldTour races. Just like doping and equipment rules apply to all categories, so do the apparel rules. Those that think rules suck and are riding American Pro races can’t just ignore the rules and do what they want anyway. Racers can not ignore the UCI rights to the WC bands on clothing. I’m surprised that Steve has not been pulled off the start line for starting a race with clothing that is against the rules; a good official should see the violation and do that. I doubt Steve is paying for his own clothing and he apparently has resources to travel the entire country and enter as many races as he wish, which is far beyond the resources of most of us, so one extra jersey with WC bands for those special occasions should not break the bank. And I am another reader that is irked every time I see Steve violating this rule, pretending that he is of the caliber of a Sagan, Cavendish, or Merckx by sporting those stripes in Pro road races; I would be embarrassed to act like such a poser.

    3. gregg

      Edit: Having contacted the organisers of the Revolution series, a spokesman responded with the following when asked about the legalities of Cavendish wearing the Rainbow Jersey at the recent series in the Manchester Velodrome:

      The rules can only be applied to UCI events and Revolution is not a UCI event so we can get riders to wear anything we like.

      Having also contacted the UCI, they repsonded with a different view on things:

      Regarding the track exhibition race, [Cavendish] shouldn’t have worn his world champion jersey. But as far as I know, we cannot do anything in retrospect as it was certainly not a UCI recognized event or part of the International Calendar.

      1. Lionel

        Maybe UK races are a bit more relaxed. According to the USA Cycling Rulebook, page 44, Section IJ5 Jerseys, subsection (i):
        “No rider shall wear a World Championship jersey or colors (blue-red-black-yellow-green stripes in any order) in a race unless entitled to do so under international rules. Only former world champions are permitted to wear the world championship colors on the trim of their jerseys.”


    4. Jpete

      Bob, do you also go after Cat 5 noobs in non-team appropriate gear? Or guys on a budget who have to use sponsor incorrect kits from previous years to afford racing? Most of us risk this at some point. Sorry, can’t afford another 200 dollar jacket to add one sponsor for a winter coat I’ll wear in one event. C’mon dude, live and let live. Race your race, savor the moment, quit worrying about petty shtuff. Move on

      1. Lionel

        When I started racing again (after 23 years off) as a Cat 5 starting over, I had to buy new jerseys that didn’t have inappropriate bands or sponsorship advertising to make sure I was not disallowed from starting a race. I think it set me back $50. However, I don’t think it would cost Steve a cent to follow the rules.

    5. Steve Tilford Post author

      bob-if you want me to, I can forward you lots of photos of riders “breaking this rule” that is so dear to your heart. How about a picture of Tom Boonen racing cyclocross wearing a Belgium National Championship jersey (with World’s stripes)? Or the same Tom Boonen racing on the track with the world stripes? do you think he was ever belgium national cross champion, world cross champion, or world champion on the track? there are tons of other examples.

      not sure why you keep railing on this subject? the post was about camera streaming live video.

      1. Lionel

        Sounds like the Armstrong excuse: Everyone was breaking the rule, so I thought it was OK. Riders should not have the option to ignore rules because others have previously gotten away with it. This allows cherry picking rules, which we’ve seen created problems with doping in the past. Though breaking a rule with doping has a physical advantage over a competitor, wearing WC stripes may intimidate by using a psychological advantage

        The Camera situation is about a rider being DQd for apparently breaking a rule. The WC apparel rule is even more of a black and white rule that riders can also be DQd for when officials do their job.

      2. bob

        Steve, Boonen also does coke. Are you going to do coke because Boonen does?

        Quit being a poser. Lionel is right. Wear the stripes when you are allowed, and don’t when you’re not.

      3. Steve Tilford Post author

        Bob – I was just giving you an example of when Tom Boonen might wear the stripes inappropriately, since you stated it would never happen in a time trial. Plus, 90% of the races I do aren’t UCI races, and probably 25% aren’t even sanctioned by USAC. I think you need to come up with some other gripe, because this one has run its course.

  3. Telford

    Seems like this could provide a means of real time feedback that goes beyond a race radio. Does live streaming video from a rider provide he and/or his team an unfair advantage? Does this provide feedback to a director that would give him more information and facilitate coordinating race strategy with his rider or team? I can see a future where a director is receiving streaming inputs from all of his riders – almost like the telemetry available on race cars – that allows him to see HR, power output levels, etc. and adjust strategy accordingly.

  4. El Jabón

    Hi Steve!
    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. Mostly, it’s just nice to read your opinions and observations, as they are quite different from where those that I experience in a small resort/college town/retirement community.
    I am wondering if you’d ever write a post about cycling and how the sport can be so positive to one’s mental psyche and just the overall positivity of it.
    Personally, myself and my friends have benefited enormously from cycling, gaining self-esteem, a productive hobby, and a good way to socialize and meet others (a big gain in fitness is also nice!)
    I feel that the non-physical or competitive aspects of he sport are by far the best facets of the sport, but they are often under-expressed. I suppose it is hard to market, “good vibes!”
    Maybe you know what I mean.
    -El Jabón.

  5. Bill K

    Maybe they thought that it was dangerous to remove, and then reload and thread the 8mm film while racing…………..Oh, nevermind.

  6. Christopher Mohr

    I think that the camera should be allowed if it’s used for coaching purposes. The NFL, for example, allows football teams to film games to examine their own performance and to scout other teams. These teams have no interest in producing such video as a competing broadcast or for commercial use, so the NFL ESPN, NBC etc. does not have a problem with it.

  7. TL

    If there’s no disclaimer to sign for the riders/team managers pertaining to recording or streaming video then the disqualification by UCI is not legal – UCI cannot act like a judge and jury towards a rider even if they sold the tv rights to another broadcast company – they should discipline the team management or put them on notice but not disqualify a rider – he is not the one broadcasting the event or even if it is not being broadcast – I doubt there is a current rule that does not allow a rider to stream video to the team management – pretty much like race radio but with video. Certainly not a black/white issue but I doubt the DQ is legal.

    1. Krakatoa East of Java

      “Certainly not a black/white issue but I doubt the DQ is legal.”

      Remember, we’re talking UCI commissaires here. They once declared Fignon the winner of a TDF time trial by 1/1,000 of a second over Sean Kelley, when everyone knew that the electronic timing was not working that day, and they were using analog stopwatches that only went to 1/10

  8. Paul

    I did a quick check of the UCI website and ran across this:

    “Except in mountain bike racing, no technical innovation regarding anything used,
    worn or carried by any rider or license holder during a competition (bicycles,
    equipment mounted on them, accessories, helmets, clothing, means of
    communication, etc.) may be used until approved by the UCI. Requests for approval
    shall be submitted to the UCI, accompanied by all necessary documentation. ”

    Then later they clarify:
    “A technical innovation is defined as a new system, device or item of equipment that
    allows an improvement of a rider’s performance, adds new functions to the bicycle,
    modifies the bicycle’s general appearance or affects any other aspect of the UCI

    I guess a camera could fall under “adds new functions” and the “modifies general appearance”, though those are both incredibly vague.

    Link: http://www.uci.ch/mm/Document/News/Rulesandregulation/16/51/61/Clarificationguideofrules2012-ENG_English.PDF (go to page 3)

  9. A person

    What about all the Strava details from races, from smartphones carried in jerseys?

    Meanwhile, Periscope.

    Sorry, UCI, but you continue to suck.

  10. channel_zero

    From the promoter/UCI perspective, there is no way a rider will ever be allowed to subvert their media rights. It’s obviously not best for the sport’s promotion, but that’s business.

    Even the contract for becoming a stage host for the Tour of California goes to great detail about media rights and the obligations the stage hosts have in protecting the UCI’s media rights. Should someone with a “Dirk Hofman motor homes” sign appear on the roadside and the image is broadcast from the Tour of California. The UCI can sue for breach of contract. The breach is failure to protect the UCI’s media rights.

    So, a rider streaming his ride live would be a HUGE issue. Brilliant idea though. Too bad the UCI is not particularly interested in growing the sport rapidly.

    1. Krakatoa East of Java

      Racers and riders see bike races. Promoters that want to earn a living by promoting bike races, see things such as sponsorship contracts, media rights, etc. Now riders are starting to inadvertently intrude on areas of potential revenue that they were previously oblivious to. I’m sure there are people wishing to pay certain pros to ride with bike cams during their events. But that’s colliding with intellectual property issues.

  11. Mike Rodose

    It’s a Sanctioning Body issue to determine what’s allowed. Beyond that, a race promoter and venue also have the right to restrict things.

    On-board cameras will happen when the people putting up the money (sponsors, UCI, USAC, Promoters, broadcaster) figure out how to contro/improve broadcast quality and make money. F1, Indy and Nascar have a fine model for on-board cameras.

  12. barb

    I think some people get it –its protecting the right to profits, and like you, I see both sides. Many just groan that the UCI or business is wrong, but if they have money invested and the rule states it, racers have a right to NOT sign, and not race. Its like any job, we may not like some terms of employment but in taking the job, we do it. I wonder how many pro racers actually read the entire rulebook, or is it some 50-pound behemoth with a lot of obscure rules most are not aware of?

    The other side is the power and influence that big money has, and how its used to bully.

    So back to what level of greed….

  13. Lionel

    Steve, it’s those other 75% of races that ARE sanctioned by the USAC where you are in violation of USAC rules regarding WC stripes on apparel. You know the rules, you choose not to to obey them. This may be a problem when you want to stand on a soap box complaining about others breaking rules.


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