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A closer look at the 2011-2012 UCI marathon series

The elite men start the UCI Marathon World Championships in 2011.

The elite men start the UCI Marathon World Championships in 2011. (Image credit: Gunn Rita Marathon – the Granfondo del Montello)

With the dust barely settled on the 2011 UCI Marathon World Championships this past weekend in Montebelluna, Italy, it is time to start thinking about the 2012 marathon Worlds and international-level marathon racing in between, including the new UCI Marathon Series.

As reported earlier, the UCI is implementing its Marathon Series starting now and running until just before the 2012 marathon Worlds. As dictated in the UCI MTB Regulations, for the new series, "The general ranking period starts at the UCI mountain bike marathon world championships until 2 weeks before the following year's UCI mountain bike marathon world championships." In 2012, marathon Worlds will be in Ornans, France, on October 7.

All events in the new series count toward a re-vamped ranking of marathon riders. "The marathon series ranking is published monthly on the 25th and replaces the UCI MTB XCM ranking," Peter Van den Abeele, Manager Off-Road Disciplines for the UCI, told Cyclingnews. "Note that the last XCM MTB ranking will be calculated on June 27, 2011, after the 2011 UCI MTB Marathon World Championships."

"The individual general marathon series ranking is drawn up on the basis of the points won by each rider. Top 40 men score points from 40 to 1 point. Top 20 women score points from 20 to 1 point. All marathon series events count for the individual general marathon series ranking," read the regulations.

Ties are broken by the greatest number of first places, second places, etc. and as a last resort the points scored in the most recent event.

Each marathon in the series must be between 70km and 100km for women and between 80km and 120km for men. The races can be run over a single lap, or multi-lap with three laps as a maximum. In the event of a multi-lap race, there may not be a short-cut on the lap for the women's race.

The UCI has specified four Marathon Series events in 2011 according to its calendar. They are listed below:

July 2-3: KitzAlpbike XCM, Kirchberg, Austria
August 20: Grand Raid - Verbier-Nendaz-Hérémence-Evolène-Grimentz, Switzerland
September 18: Adamello Bike - Ponte di Legno (BS), Italy
October 1-2: Extrême Sur Loue - Ornans, France

"The remaining rounds to be held in 2012 will be confirmed after the 2012 UCI MTB International Calendar applications close on July 29, 2011. Those events will be submitted to the next UCI Management Committee in September," said Van den Abeele

The UCI Marathon Series is important because top performing riders can use it to qualify for the marathon Worlds. The top 20 riders from each Marathon Series round and the top 50 in the Marathon Series ranking will qualify for the Worlds.

It will also still be possible to qualify for marathon Worlds via each country's selection. Each national federation may send up to six riders and the hosting federation may send up to 15 riders.