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Start order, race categorizations, marathon distances and junior racing tweaked
The UCI announced several changes to its mountain bike racing rules for 2014. They address start order, event category designations and elite junior racing.
For cross country and downhill World Cups, the start order will be determined by World Cup ranking for the 2014 season rather than UCI rankings as was the case previously. Automatic qualifiers for downhill will still be decided by World Cup rankings.
The UCI is also changing its category 3 designation of cross country-type events to be more flexible in terms of distance and duration. As a result, eliminator events will be categorized as C3 events on the UCI calendar with the exception of the world championships. Riders will earn UCI points for C3-designated eliminator races.
Marathon race distances could get longer next season. The UCI is increasing the maximum distance authorized for marathon events to 160km. It also made some changes to the UCI Marathon Series, in terms of how many events count to the general ranking and the scale of points for each.
The 2014 UCI regulations include new provisions for enduro and mass start downhill events. Both types can be registered on the UCI calendar.
As previously reported, the UCI has decided not to make any changes to the World Cup eliminator for 2014 after the discipline was not included in the events for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Also, juniors will no longer compete in the cross country World Cup. Instead, they will get a six-round UCI Junior Series, including existing events in central Europe. There will be no general classification for the Junior Series although a world ranking of juniors based on UCI points will be maintained.
There is no word yet from the UCI on whether any changes will be made to UCI Rule 1.2.019 which states, "No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI. A national federation may grant special exceptions for races or particular events run in its own country." A moratorium on enforcing the rule is in effect until January 1, 2014.