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USA Cycling revises mountain bike rules for 2010

Lea Davison (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) climbing

Lea Davison (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) climbing (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/

USA Cycling's mountain bike board of trustees met in Colorado Springs in November to approve several new rules and changes to existing mountain bike rules in its rule book for the 2010 racing season. The changes define permitted technical assistance and categories for nationals.

Singlespeeders will get their own category at US marathon national championship events. That means both men and women will be eligible to win a stars and stripes jersey.

Juniors will see changes across mountain bike disciplines. The junior men's and women's 15-18 field will be split into two categories: junior 15-16 and junior 17-18 for national cross country and downhill contests.

The 2010 rule book will elaborate on technical assistance zones for mountain bike races. Feed/Technical Assistance Zones will be permitted in ultra-endurance events (marathon, six-hour, 12-hour, 24-hour), UCI cross country events (UCI classes only) and cross country national championships for the UCI classes (pro men, pro women, junior 17-18 men, and junior 17-18 women); however, when the category 1 junior 15-16 juniors are on the course at the same time as the category 1 junior 17-18 riders, they will also have access to technical assistance zones.

USA Cycling defines authorized technical assistance during a race as repairs to or the replacement of any part of the bicycle other than the frame. Bike changes are not permitted, and the rider must cross the finishing line with the same handlebar number plate that he or she had at the start.

Technical assistance and feeding will normally only be given in the feed/technical assistance zones. Also, physical contact between the feeders/mechanics may only take place in these zones. However, technical assistance may be given between teammates outside of the technical assistance zones, subject to the above limitations on bike frame swapping.

For Olympic format cross country events, two zones should be set up. For marathon format cross country events, at least three zones or opportunities for feeding/service should be set up. No rider may ride backwards on the course to reach a feeding/technical assistance zone as any rider doing so would be disqualified.

Finally, USA Cycling juggled some age group categories. Masters mountain bike national categories have been restructured. They are now men 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, and 70+, and the women 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, and 60+. All of these categories are considered "championship" categories, with the winners taking home national championship jerseys. Other championship categories for men and women include pro; under 23; cat. 1 junior 15-16 & 17-18; cat. 1 senior 19-24 and 25-29; cat. 1 master 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, and 50-54; and juniors 10 & under, 11-12, and 13-14.

Cat. 2 and Cat. 3 racers may continue to compete at nationals in "competition categories" which award medals but no national championship jerseys.

The complete rule book will be available in pdf format on USA Cycling's website by January.