UCI tweaks road rules, gives women longer races

The UCI announced today that it would allow 18 teams to remain in the men's WorldTour in 2017 and 2018 before beginning its reduction in the scale of the sport's top tier. But while the full regulations for the WorldTour will not be published until next month, some amendments to the road racing regulations and general rules were posted on the UCI site.

One WorldTour rule was amended in the published document: rule 2.15.128, which governs WorldTour teams' (UCI WorldTeam) obligations to participate in the WorldTour races.

The monetary penalty for failing to compete was kept at CHF 10,000-20,000, but a caveat was added, allowing the UCI to choose to not take action should a team skip or withdraw from a WorldTour race "following an abnormal situation pertaining to doping" and the organisers agree in writing to allow the team's absence.

The rule adds clarity in case a team is suspended under the UCI Anti-Doping rules for having more than one doping case in a 12-month period.

The UCI also tweaked the rules for the UCI's various teams classifications: if a rider transfers mid-season, as happened with Carlos Verona and Carmen Small this year, and Rohan Dennis in 2014, and had points that contributed to the old team's rankings, the points accumulated remain with that team and do not transfer to the new one. Only points accumulated while racing with the new team count toward the new team's rankings. Trainee points do not count toward his 'host' team's rankings.

For UCI World Rankings, points from team time trials are now equally distributed amongst all riders who finish the team time trial and rounded up to the nearest whole point, whereas previous rules only awarded points to riders who finished in the same time as the lead rider.

The UCI also changed the regulations on rider bib numbers and frame numbers, prohibiting riders from starting if they do not have the bib number provided by the race (no hand-drawn numbers on paper allowed) and allowing teams to add the name of the rider on the jersey "outside of the areas reserved for the team's principal partners". Team Sky were allowed this year to have riders' names on the side panels and arms of their jerseys, but IAM Cycling's attempt to add rider names to the back panels was blocked by the UCI last year.

Women get longer races

The UCI amended the maximum and average distances for elite women's events, maxing out the Women's WorldTour races at 160km or 140km average distance for all stages of a race. For other women's races, the maximum is 140km and average 120km.

The invitations for the women's class 1 events through March 15, 2017 are now tied to the rolling UCI World Rankings, as are the class 2 events of the men's Europe Tour and all of the other Continental Tours' events.

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