Brand criticises UCI over lapped rider rules

HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 02 Lucinda Brand of The Netherlands and Team Baloise Trek Lions competes during the 6th Hulst Vestingcross UCI CycloCross Worldcup 2022 Womens Elite CXWorldCup UCIcyclocrossWC on January 02 2022 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Brand in action in Hulst on January 2 (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

World champion Lucinda Brand has called on the UCI to change the rules of cyclo-cross to prevent lapped riders from influencing the outcome at the head of affairs. 

The Dutchwoman has not been unduly hindered in recent races, winning five times in eight days, but has in fact spoken out on behalf of a rival.

After winning the GP Sven Nys in Baal on New Years Day, Brand posted a video on social media showing her compatriot Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado having to ease off in her chase due to a lapped rider in her path on a running section. 

Alongside it, Brand issued a strong message to the sport's governing body.

"Hey UCI, when are you finally gonna solve this problem? Why did we have to wait that now lapped riders are influencing the results of the race? Unfortunately, yesterday it screwed up Ceylin’s race," Brand wrote.

"It’s not about this particular rider, this happens every week. It feels unfair to get warning after warning from UCI officials for small things like the placement of my arm numbers. But the real problems which are influencing the race are ignored right now!"

The UCI's cyclo-cross regulations dictate that riders who have been lapped by the leaders should continue to the end of the lap on which they were passed before leaving the race. 

However, riders can also be preemptively pulled out of the race at any point by the officials under the 80 per cent rule, which comes into play if the rider's deficit to the leader is more than 80 per cent of the leader's time for the opening lap. 

Brand, however, feels the current rules aren't doing enough to clear the courses of dropped riders when it comes down to the crucial latter phases of big races. She claimed she has already been in contact with the UCI to suggest possible solutions but hasn't had a reply. 

"I already contacted you last year about the problem and even came up with a solution, but nothing happened. Maybe you can overthink my suggestion to also use the Pit area for the 80 per cent rule," Brand wrote.

"But please let’s solve this together. There is also a big responsibility for us as riders and staff. Let’s remind each other to 'get out of the way' when you’re about to be lapped! In the end nobody wants to ruin the race."

Brand has been the dominant force in women's cyclo-cross this season, winning 15 races since October and making her the overwhelming favourite to retain the world title in the USA at the end of January.

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