Cyclo-cross UCI and World Cup rankings demystified

By Peter Hymas The UCI ceased its experiment of a unified, solitary UCI points classification...

By Peter Hymas

The UCI ceased its experiment of a unified, solitary UCI points classification governing start order for the 2008-2009 cyclo-cross season in favor of the previous system in which the World Cup events have their own separate classification determining a rider's position on the start line.

For the 2008-2009 season start order in World Cup events is granted according to World Cup points ranking first, then by overall UCI ranking once all of the ranked World Cup riders have been lined up. For all other UCI sanctioned events outside of the World Cup, overall UCI points accumulation determines the starting order.

"This separate points system gives the World Cup value, you have to support the whole series", said Adam Myerson, professional cyclist, UCI Cyclo-cross Commissioner and AIOC-Cross member to Cyclingnews. "In the second round of the World Cup at Tabor I lined up on the back row since I failed to score any points in the first World Cup at Kalmthout. Enrico Franzoi and Sven Vanthourenhout skipped the first round and lined up at Tabor besides me in the back row, too, since they didn’t have any World Cup points either."

World Cups still award valuable UCI points to a rider's overall points total in addition to a separate classification of World Cup-specific points. Under the prior unified UCI points system, start order was determined by a rider's overall UCI points total, even in World Cup events.

UCI points still factor into World Cup events independent of start order involving this season’s contentious topic of start money. At World Cups there are no negotiation between riders and promoters involving start money, it's the same amount at every World Cup and the payout is determined by UCI points ranking.

Another change for the 2008-2009 cyclo-cross season is sartorial in nature. The overall UCI points leader no longer wears any jersey denoting leadership in that classification (in previous seasons the UCI points leader wore a solid blue jersey) while the World Cup leader is now entitled to wear a solid white leader's jersey but only for World Cup events.

Myerson's schedule in Europe during those World Cups was perhaps more hectic than other riders since he has responsibilities as a cyclo-cross promoter and UCI commissioner to juggle alongside his obligations as a professional cyclist. In addition to competing in two World Cup events, Myerson attended the semi-annual AICO-Cross meeting held near the Kalmthout venue the day prior to the opening World Cup event and the UCI Cyclo-cross Commission meeting in Prague the day after the Tabor World Cup.

One of the topics of conversation at the AIOC-Cross meeting involved promoters' reactions to the UCI and World Cup points series in effect for the current season. AIOC-Cross is a private organization open to all cyclo-cross promoters and primarily acts as an advocacy group. Myerson is the only American on the management committee and is usually the only American who regularly attends the semi-annual meetings.

Myerson is also the only American on the five-member UCI Cyclo-cross Commission whose responsibility involves the world-wide management of Cyclo-cross primarily via the establishment of the UCI rules governing the sport and the World Cup schedule.

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