New USA Cycling upgrade guidelines
|Number of starters|
|Number of starters|
USA Cycling’s new rulebook has some interesting changes to the upgrade requirements on the road.
Racers still need 20 points to upgrade to Cat 3 and 25 points to upgrade to Cat 2, but the points now vary based on size of field and criterium vs. road race. Furthermore, the points are now standardized across categories.
Let’s look at the requirements to become a Cat 3. Previously all races awarded 7-5-4-3-2-1 points to the top 6 finishers, regardless of the size of the field. In 2008 points will go five deep (5-4-3-2-1) for criteriums of 21-50 riders and seven deep (8-6-5-4-3-2-1) for road races of the same size. For bigger races, more points are available. For smaller, fewer.
With fewer points available for criteriums, this could make it harder for 4’s to upgrade, given the dearth of road races close to Chicago, but I expect many 4’s will continue to upgrade based on a combination of top 10’s and the discretion of our wise and benevolent technical director.
The same tables apply to 3’s upgrading to Cat 2. Of note is that the points warranting an automatic upgrade are now 40, down from 60. Sandbaggers, you’re on notice.
Requirements to upgrade from 5 to 4 remain the same: 10 mass-start races.
Similar adjustments have been made to the cyclocross guidelines, which have lowered the bar for entering the 3’s: One need only “experience” 5 races (not necessarily finish?) or score seven points. I think this will be good for the Chicago Cyclocross Cup, which this season saw more than 80 riders line up for 4’s races but only 20 for the 3’s. Ben Popper (Killjoy), who first brought my attention to these changes, disagrees.
One other major change in the cyclocross guidelines, emphasis mine: “If the road and XC categories do not correspond to the same CX category, then the higher one will be used.” This means Cat 3 roadies can skip the Cat 4 cross races altogether. (That clicking sound you hear is me applying for my upgrade.)