Sho-Air International President Scott Tedro cuts ties with USAC and reaches out to the cycling community to raise funds for riders going to the MTB World Championships in South Africa.
Scott Tedrow’s Team Sho-Air/Cannondale.
Scott Tedro calls himself “just a guy who moves boxes for a living”. But Tedro is far more than that, especially to the mountain biking community. For nearly a decade, Tedro’s Sho-Air International has been an enthusiastic supporter of mountain biking in the United States, bankrolling the U.S. Cup mountain bike series, Team Sho-Air/Cannondale and acting as the title sponsor of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
Over the last eight years, the U.S. Cup has promoted and subsidized more than 110 mountain bike events sanctioned by USA Cycling. But the recent uproar over the controversial rule 1.2.019 that prohibits licensed UCI pro and amateur riders from competing in non-USAC sanctioned events has left Tedro and his Team Sho-Air/Cannondale in a precarious situation.
“This UCI rule has been around for years, but it’s intended for highly compensated riders,” said Tedro. “Say I have a grand fondo and invite Peter Sagan to ride in it. If he crashes or gets hurt, he’s unable to race in a major tour. That’s what the rule is for. It’s not for riders like Alex Grant who make a small salary and still has a full time job. A rider like Alex shouldn’t be sanctioned, but USAC insists on incorrectly trying to enforce this rule.”
Alex Grant is fresh off a 2nd place Overall finish at the Breck Epic.
Tedro is at wits end with USAC, not just because of Rule 1.2.019, but also because of the all-take, no-give attitude of USAC. He has obliged every time that USAC has come to him asking for money and support, he even helped them create their PRO XCT Series.
Tedro has hosted more PRO XCT and PRO UET events than any other US promoter, but the money never ends up going to help make the organization better for the sport of mountain biking. The rules and requirements for the PRO XCT & UET events change every year and are rarely enforced. Even USAC President Steve Johnson claims it’s not a series, but simply a “Calendar of Events”.
“USA Cycling is very inconsistent with their direction,” said Tedro. “They ask you to conform a certain way, only to completely change their mind a year later. If I ran my business the way they run theirs, I’d be out of business.”
The latest controversy arose when USA Cycling announced the list of eligible riders for the Mountain Bike World Championships in South Africa on August 26 – September 1. Much to everyone’s surprise, one of America’s most talented and decorated riders – Jeremiah Bishop of Team Sho-Air/Cannondale – was missing from the list.
Jeremiah Bishop was not nominated by USAC for the World Championships.
USAC claims that the reason why Bishop was missing was because he did not automatically qualify and did not submit an athlete nomination petition to be considered for a spot. Further, this year USAC is able to nominate a maximum of five males and five females for the World Championships. USAC only nominated three males, an action that Tedro finds inexcusable.
“USAC has the responsibility of ensuring the best representation possible of the United States at the World Championships, so why would you only nominated three riders when you have a maximum of five? If Jeremiah didn’t submit the required paperwork, why didn’t USAC either contact me or Jeremiah to find out why?”
Tedro claims that part of the reason why Bishop was not nominated was because someone at USAC heard second hand that Bishop wasn’t interested in going. This hearsay behavior is inexcusable to Tedro, a personality who has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into mountain biking over the past decade.
Jeremiah Bishop airing it out.
“This is a business, and USAC is not anywhere close to operating like one. Jeremiah Bishop is my employee. He is Cannondale’s employee. It’s up to us to determine if it’s important enough to send our rider to Worlds. As a business, USAC should have nominated the maximum number of riders and sent us a letter stating that our riders have qualified. Then we determine whether or not our riders want to participate.”
Aside from the nomination debacle, USAC further claims that they don’t have the budget to pay for or subsidize the all of 35 American riders to the World Championships in South Africa. The trip will cost each rider between $3,500 and $4,000, a healthy chunk of change that USAC apparently hasn’t raised, and Tedro wonders if they even attempted to. So Tedro decided to step forward and raise money.
“Without any help from USAC, in a matter of three days we were able to reach out to the cycling community and raise more than 20,000 dollars from donations. Three days. USAC has had nearly a year to raise funds for Worlds, and they weren’t able to do it. They continually use the excuse that they don’t have the proper resources, yet I can set up a donation page, humbly ask others to help and in three days have enough money to give each rider a check for nearly 600 dollars.”
“We should expect a lot more from our federation,” added Tedro. “The mountain bike community has an incredibly positive and healthy vibe, as witnessed by many successful races like the Whiskey Off-Road thriving without any help from USAC.”
“But until USAC starts running their organization like a business with the interests of all of their paying customers – mountain bikers included – I no longer support USAC and will drive for wholesale change. It is with a heavy heart that this is the decision USAC has forced upon me, as I would love to support our federation, however until I see an earnest attempt to serve the customer, I am done with them.”
Strong words from a man who has singlehandedly kept mountain biking from suffering a second huge decline. Let’s hope USAC gets the message and starts making some wholesale changes for the better in Colorado Springs.
If you’d like to help donate to the cause sending American riders to the World Championships, visit the MTB Worlds Riders Fund and give whatever you can.