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Big is relative
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Is there an equivalent to USCF for the EU or does it go by region? Since I am moving to Italy next spring, I would like to race over there even if I get my butt handed to me every weekend. "Yeah, I used to do a little racing in Italy" would sound nice when I am living in South Carolina after I retire.
 

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bigbill said:
Is there an equivalent to USCF for the EU or does it go by region? Since I am moving to Italy next spring, I would like to race over there even if I get my butt handed to me every weekend. "Yeah, I used to do a little racing in Italy" would sound nice when I am living in South Carolina after I retire.
There are a boatload of citizen race/events that do not require licenses- in Norway at least. My understanding is you need to be superhardcore (like probably at cat 2 level, or a fast 3) to need a license around here. I could be wrong, as I have just relocated.
 

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bigbill said:
Is there an equivalent to USCF for the EU or does it go by region? Since I am moving to Italy next spring, I would like to race over there even if I get my butt handed to me every weekend. "Yeah, I used to do a little racing in Italy" would sound nice when I am living in South Carolina after I retire.
I believe there are international UCI licences.
 

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bigbill said:
Is there an equivalent to USCF for the EU or does it go by region? Since I am moving to Italy next spring, I would like to race over there even if I get my butt handed to me every weekend. "Yeah, I used to do a little racing in Italy" would sound nice when I am living in South Carolina after I retire.
To race internationally, you need a USCF license with an international stamp. You can get this when you apply for a new license or renew an old one. If you already have a 2006 license, you can have the international certification added.
 

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It's might not a great idea to take out a UCI license unless you are very fast. If you're not a master, it will classify you as a UCI Elite, which will pretty much restrict the races you can do to a very high level. Local organizers may overlook that, but in general the promoter will put you in the hardest category if you have an international license.
 

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tobu said:
It's might not a great idea to take out a UCI license unless you are very fast. If you're not a master, it will classify you as a UCI Elite, which will pretty much restrict the races you can do to a very high level. Local organizers may overlook that, but in general the promoter will put you in the hardest category if you have an international license.
I was aware of the international stamp, but I am not interested in representing an American team internationally. I just want to do some local stuff. I will renew my USCF as unattached while stationed overseas.
 

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bigbill said:
I was aware of the international stamp, but I am not interested in representing an American team internationally. I just want to do some local stuff. I will renew my USCF as unattached while stationed overseas.
Again, just check to see if the race requires a license. Often they require "insurance" instead- which can be purchased per day or per year- like a license.
 

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bigbill said:
I was aware of the international stamp, but I am not interested in representing an American team internationally. I just want to do some local stuff. I will renew my USCF as unattached while stationed overseas.
In Italy like in France and many other EU countries, road racing is organised under the auspices of the national cycling federation which defines the different categories. In Italy the Federazione Ciclistica Italiana (http://www.federciclismo.it) is the competent body for cycle racing. You can euther "compete" (ride, really) in amateur events such as cyclosportives under one type of license or you can get a proper racing license through a local club. There are different categories that are somewhat analagous to Cats 5-1 but be forewarned that even in the lowest category, the level of cycling competence and competition are much more elevated than in similar categories in the states. In other words, be prepared to suffer! But you will no doubt have fun doing so! What you need to do is head to a few local bicycle shops and feel them out re. local clubs and training rides (the big ride is on Sundays). Get in good with the one that feels best to you and tell them that you are interested in racing. They will deal with the paperwork and will get you in the right category.

Also, do not go the elite UCI route with the international stamp on your USCF license -- as others have warned, you will only be able to enter certain races which are typically invitation only events -- even if you are Cat1-2, you will need to go w/ a local club to get onto a team that is invited to compete in these events.

Finally, when you are settled in Italy, drop me a line. I'm down in Italy often and if I am in your area, we can go training together.

A+

Philippe.
 

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Besides the fact that typical American's are fat and lazy (less true for cyclists), why are the Italians so much faster than the Americans, especially per category? You would think a Cat1 here would at least be in the middle of the pack in Italy.

Last I checked, America had the best riders...but who knows, maybe my understanding of Lance is wrong?
 

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iliveonnitro said:
Besides the fact that typical American's are fat and lazy (less true for cyclists), why are the Italians so much faster than the Americans, especially per category? You would think a Cat1 here would at least be in the middle of the pack in Italy.

Last I checked, America had the best riders...but who knows, maybe my understanding of Lance is wrong?
Racers in the european amateur peletons are better bike handlers because they have been racing since 10-12 years old. It is rare to see people coming into the sport late(er) in life. This, I believe, is not the case in the states where when I was racing, the Cat 3's were full of people who had started racing in their mid to late 20's.

As far as race "toughness". Speed is one factor -- my experience has been that the race speeds and race rythm in Europe is typically faster and tougher to handle than in similar races in the US -- and I have raced on both coasts of the states before coming back to Europe. For one, at the lower categories in Europe, you have people that have raced as juniors and that have "gotten off the elevator" so to speak so that these categories are full of people with extensive race experience and handling skills. Also these categories are full of riders "coming down the elevator" that have raced at higher levels and no longer have the time to train to stay up in the higher categories. Also, there are typically many more races (at least as compared to when I was in the States) and the courses are typically much tougher than in the States (I have not raced a single parking lo/office park crit since coming back here!).

In the higher categories, the differences tend to even out. However, there are many, many more Cat 1-2 EU riders than there are in the States, and the races are more dynamic and competitive. There is a reason that F. Landis/B. JUlich (?- one of the two as quoted on cyclingnews.com) got on the case of the riders of US domestic squads in the T.O.C. He said they are going to have to do better if they want to be competitive in the EU peleton. But you are right, a good Cat 1 in the States has a good chance to be competitive in the National/Elite races in Italy/France.

Finally, America does not have the "best riders", they have <i>some</i> of the best riders! There is a difference. Your understanding of Lance is not wrong -- he won the TDF 7 times -- but there were other riders winning other races year-long for 7 years running -- hopefully (but not necessarily realistically) without micro-dosing EPO and getting blood transfusions from their Labrador Retievers..... Did I just say that out loud?

Regards

Philippe
 

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You also can't discount the cultural support and development of bike racers. Even amongst kids who don't race, in some areas they know about drafting and will ride to school in pacelines. Additionally, cyclists in Europe are real athletes who are familiar with all aspects of cycling. I never ran into racers who said "Oh, I'm a mountain biker" or "I'm not really comfortable with skinny tires" They were all cyclists who rode all different sorts of bikes but usually specialized in one discipline.
 

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Granfondo races

bigbill said:
Is there an equivalent to USCF for the EU or does it go by region? Since I am moving to Italy next spring, I would like to race over there even if I get my butt handed to me every weekend. "Yeah, I used to do a little racing in Italy" would sound nice when I am living in South Carolina after I retire.
The license you need depends on the type of race you want to do.
To enter a Juniores, Elite(Dilettanti) or Pro race, you need a FCI (Federazione Ciclistica Italiana) license. The FCI is affiliated with the UCI, as USCF is.

However, unless you are under 23 or already a Pro(!), you'll have to compete in Amateur races. You can enter an Amateur race with a "ente sportivo" (sport association) license (e.g. UDACE), which is cheaper than FCI.

To get one of these licenses, you'll need to join a local cycling club. You'll also need to get a yearly medical exam for racing (HCG, spirometry, etc) from a sport doctor.
There are many cycling clubs all over Italy and even small towns usually have one.
Contrary to USCF, in Italy racing categories for amateurs are defined by age group .

I'd recommend you to check out the GranFondo amateur races. They attract a large number of racers and are very competitive and tough. Some famous granfondos are GF Campagnolo, Maratona delle Dolomiti, GF Nove Colli, GF Cassani, GF Gimondi, GF Pinarello, GF Fausto Coppi, etc. They typically have 2 or 3 distances to choose from (70 to 180 Kms) and are very hilly. Many ex-pro or elite racers compete in these granfondos.

You can find the 2006 granfondos calendar at this link.
http://www.dalzero.it/elencogranfondo2006/gran_fondo_ciclismo_2006.htm

Jacob
 
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