Japan National Road Cycling Championships 2022

At the end of June 2022 the Japan road cycling national championships should have been held, but the Womens Elite and Womens U23 categories weren’t run and no national champions were selected. I didn’t see anything about this in English so I’ve summarized it here. This is primarily a translation without commentary. I’ve skipped over various points in the documents that don’t affect the outcome.


The Japan Road Cycling Nationals are organized by the Japan Cycling Federation (JCF). They function under UCI rules.

As in the previous national championships the course is the Chuo Shinrin Park in Hiroshima. As the course is tight and winding (it’s a recreational cycling course in a park) the event has been run in previous years with a rule banning team cars.


On the 10th June, Athlete X (living in Holland, attached to a US team, name withheld) opened an arbitration case with the Japan Sports Arbitration Agency (JSAA) to get the ‘no team cars’ rule revoked. The athlete’s side’s argument was that the UCI rules specify that ‘Only one vehicle per team will be permitted to circulate at race level’, so without an exception from the UCI all teams must be permitted to run a car.

The JCF’s response was that:

  • The rule means that a car is permitted, not guaranteed (it’s an upper limit)
  • The JCF has confirmed this with the UCI
  • So whether cars are permitted or not is at the discretion of the organizer

They also argued that the race is an individual event rather than a One-day Race so the team car rules are different. Also that the course is cannot be run safely with that many vehicles, an incident did occur with a support vehicle in 2019, and neutral support would be present.

The JSAA decided that:

  • The regulation is interpreted as a guarantee for one car
  • Therefore the rule is in violation of UCI regulations
  • The JCF has plenty of consideration in the rules for teams so it’s not an individual event

And therefore ‘no team cars’ rule is void and the event must be run with them permitted.

Rule changes

On the June 21st (4 days before the race) the JCF put out two Communiques in response to the arbitration. Communique 3 announced that the team cars rule was abolished.

Communique 4 announced that the Womens Elite and Womens U23 races were cancelled. It also announced that team cars were not permitted in the events to be run at the Japan Nationals.

More arbitration

Athlete X (living in Holland, attached to a US team, name withheld) then opened a second arbitration case to get the cancellation notice retracted. Their arguments were that

  • UCI regulations state the Nationals must be run in last weekend of June
  • The mens event is being run with the ‘no team cars’ rule in place and therefore in violation of UCI regulations
  • Only cancelling the Womens event was gender discrimination.

The JSAA responded that

  • Yes, according to UCI regulations the race should be run
  • In the first judgement, the specific rule was declared to be in violation of UCI regulations. In the communiques from the JCF, the first rule was deleted the Womens event was cancelled, and a new rule was instated - ‘team cars are not permitted in events run during this tournament’. Based on this, no judgement had been made regarding the new tournament rule.
  • Womens Masters was still proceeding so it wasn’t a gender issue

The final judgement was that the judgement was denied.

In the end, the event date passed with the only athlete X’s race cancelled.

As of mid July the JCF is trying to organize a new event around October.

Translator notes

In this document, these points stand out as being contradictory but as far as I can tell they’re accurate to the source documents.

  • As an English native speaker, the ‘Only one vehicle’ rule looks like an upper limit to me (i.e. the JCF’s interpretation was correct). The JSAA’s document is very clear that they consider this interpretation “difficult”.
  • The JCF refers to the athlete as Athlete A, the JSAA refers to them as X. I’ve called them athlete X.
  • I don’t think it’s explcit that X in the first and second arbitration cases is the same person but the description text used for them is the same. Are there multiple Japanese UCI pro women cyclists living in Holland while racing for US teams?