Pros are allowed to compete and receive prizes at all GFNY World races, adhering to any relevant Federation- or UCI-issued regulations. Currently, pro athletes are allowed to compete in two open races per year.
In the first four editions of GFNY (2011-2014), the race was only open to amateurs and ex-professionals who had retired their pro license more than five years prior. The GFNY Champions of 2011-2014 editions were either retired pros or semi-pros who chose to not hold a pro license. After reviewing our amateur-only rule versus the reality of who was racing and winning year after year, we decided there was no valid reason to continue excluding some athletes from racing and we opened GFNY to professional cyclists from GFNY 2015.
Our focus will always be on providing a great experience for every GFNY athlete whether they are competing for the win, a personal best or trying to beat the cut-off time. GFNY is a race, and anyone can toe the line and race.*
Be a Pro For a Day
At GFNY, just as at other endurance sport events like marathons and triathlons, age group athletes share the start line, the course, and the joy of the finish with professionals and elites.
The GFNY “Be a Pro for a Day” experience, means that all athletes share in the benefits of full course timing, controlled intersections, and a professionally organized race experience. Careful planning allows for professionals and elites to share the same mass start from the front of the peloton, GFNY’s Qualifier Corral.
With overall race rankings based on gun time, and category rankings based on chip time, the results are fair and equitable for athletes of all ability levels. Age group athletes gain the pro experience specifically from toeing up with pros on race day and being able to set their race day expectations on all the amenities afforded to professional athletes during the race.
GFNY will always welcome athletes of all abilities. The opportunity for age-group category athletes to race with professionals and elites is one of the many things that makes GFNY special.
Twenty years ago, a cyclist holding a pro license was a professional who 100% earned his living from racing bikes. With the emergence of the Continental Pro class in the 90s, former Elite Amateurs became Pro License holders. Now, 25 years later, some Continental pros have to keep daytime jobs to support their cycling. And their opportunities to race long road races has waned as teams closed due to shrinking budgets and races ceased to exist due to rising costs. Simultaneously, as the number of cycling marathons globally grew, some pro-level athletes without a pro license started to target those races. There are many cyclists who devote their lives 100% to cycling even if they don’t hold a professional racing license. GFNY offers a race for all athletes to come together and do their best against each other, the clock and themselves.
Amateurs and professionals regularly toe the line together in running and triathlon. Take the NYC Marathon: it wouldn't be the amazing race it is without the professional runners but it wouldn't even exist without the committed amateur runner. Cycling is different in that it evolved into a team sport at the top level after the Second World War. And with that, team cars entered the peloton. While GFNY is open to teams, team cars or individual follow cars are not allowed because they would make the race unfair and unsafe.
For professionals and elites, the benefits of racing in a GFNY race are immeasurable. The long and challenging courses, competitive fields, and the number of events globally create dozens of opportunities each year for professional and elite cyclists to hone their fitness, put themselves on display, and race under professional conditions on professional-grade courses with other athletes of similar ability. This is not only a great opportunity for athletes, but this is also a chance for endurance sport to evolve (please read our White Paper on the future of professional cycling) beyond the traps of current professional formats into something truly special.
*Under accordance of GFNY Cycling Rules about Entry, for example:
2.1. The entry to GFNY is open to riders aged 18 or older. GFNY has the sole discretion over entry numbers and cut off dates.
2.2: Riders who are serving a ban by a federation for a doping violation will be refused. Riders who have served their ban are allowed to ride in the event but will neither be timed nor be in the results and will start at the back.