Commissaire: (noun) cycling referee, person/s controlling a cycling event ensuring fair play between cyclists within competition.

The underlying reason people become commissaires is the passion they have for the sport, along with the desire to see successful events take place, where rules are respected and athletes neither gain an unfair advantage or disadvantage.

There are opportunities to be involved as a Commissaire at all levels and in all disciplines, club through to international, BMX to mountain bike to road and track.

A Commissaire's Role

These days there is an increasing need for qualified sports officials, to meet the demands of the ever expanding cycling scene. Regardless of the level of competition, the benefits of competition are greater when the event is overseen by capable sports officials.

Whilst the results of any event should be totally dependent upon the athlete, their coach or strategy, the officials job is to apply the rules consistently, the use of good judgment, sportsmanship, and being able to handle all situations in an efficient and equitable manner.

As with all sports officials their overall purpose is to enable the event to progress smoothly, with as little interference as possible.

The essential requirements for an effective official would be:-

  1. Knowledge of the rules and enforcement of them

  2. Absolute integrity

  3. Ability to build effective relationships

  4. An awareness of all aspects of athlete safety

Officiating at cycling events can sometimes be difficult, but very rewarding, for when our officials are well trained, highly dedicated and fully aware of the total requirements of their responsibilities, cycling will be the winner.

What makes a good official?

A cross section of officials has come up with the following list of the characteristics of a good official.

A love and a feeling for the sport

A thorough knowledge of the rules of the sport

Firmness, fairness and consistency of decision made

An ability to communicate with the athletes

The courage to believe in the decisions that have been made

The concentration to remain alert during the whole event

The motivation to perform the role well.

Other prerequisites not often listed include:

- A sense of humour, thick skin and 60/60 vision

- The capacity not to criticise but to be criticised

- An understanding that you are never right

How do I become a Commissaire?


The best place to start is at the grass roots of our sport Club Racing.

Offer your services at club races, let the club officials know that you are interested in the officiating side of things, and you will be shown through the various duties, i.e. Time Keeping, Judging, Marshalling etc.

When it comes to more important events, like Opens, where a National Commissaire will be appointed, it pays to make yourself known to the Commissaire, offer to be his/her driver, if they already have a driver organised, ask to be a passenger. This is the best way to gain experience on the job.


Cycling New Zealand organise both Road and Track, and Mountain Bike Commissaire courses. Road and Track courses alternate between the Islands on alternate years, and Mountain Bike courses are run as required.

The courses are designed to give a good insight into the practical application of the rules of the sport, through interactive tutoring with the assistance of video analysis.

The course is run over a weekend and covers 12 hours of tutoring, at the conclusion of the course the candidates complete a written and oral exam.

If you are interested in getting involved in officiating at any level within any of the sports or disciplines, please click here