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USA adopts new rules for cyclo-cross

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

USA Cycling has agreed to follow new rules for the upcoming cyclo-cross season mirroring those adopted by the UCI for races on US soil.

The new regulations allow for feeding during some races, change the handling of lapped riders and modify some technical regulations on equipment and course design.

The UCI rolled out its changes to the international cyclo-cross regulations in June of this year, allowing previously banned disc brakes and narrowing the maximum tire width among other changes.

For 'cross racers in more temperate climes of the USA, feeding will be allowed when the temperatures is at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit, will be restricted to laps other than the first and last two, and hand-ups can only take place in the service lane.

Other changes include specifying the height of artificial barriers to be "up to 40 cm high" instead of being exactly 40 cm, and the distance between barriers may now be from four to six meters instead of exactly four.

Previously, rules limited the number of obstacles obliging riders to dismount to six. USA Cycling will now specify only six "artificial" obstacles but still restricts total obstacle distance to 10 percent of the course.

"The ban on artificial sand was removed and replaced with specifications that if you have artificial sand, it must be 40-80 meters long, straight, and have no lip up or down to access it," the communique stated.

Rules restricting tires to a maximum 33mm width will only be enforced for UCI events and senior National Championships.

"The intent was to reduce the amount of equipment that many riders feel they must bring in order to be competitive," USA Cycling stated. "This rule does not affect local events as we currently have no rules regarding tire width and the Board of Trustees is not adding any tire width requirement. However, the tire width rule will apply at National Championships for all riders 17 and over.

USA Cycling also did not restrict the use of disc brakes for local events, and will now allow them in UCI events after the international rule change.

The UCI requires that lapped riders not be allowed across the finishing line, but USA Cycling will allow two methods for handling lapped racers: They will either be allowed to remain in the race and finish on the same lap as the leader, or they may be removed at the entrance to the final straight after being lapped.

Riders may be also be withdrawn using the 80 percent rule employed in most mountain bike races. This rule would require any rider dropped by more than 80 percent of the leader's lap time to be pulled. For a 10 minute lap, a rider 8 minutes or more behind would be pulled out of the race.

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