After looking at the races and the teams that can accrue points in the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, it’s time to look at how these points are calculated in our third and final installment of our Closer Look At The NRC series.
Two standings are maintained for the women and the men during the NRC season, an individual classification and a team classification. Determining the leader of the Individual NRC classification is pretty straightforward: whomever has the most points is leading the competition. Determining the Team classification is a bit complicated – we’ll get to that below.
Points everywhere. Every race, be it a multi-day stage race or a one-day race, is assigned a ranking, generally based on the difficulty of the race. Stage races can be ranked anywhere from 2.HC (hardest) up to 2.5, while one-day races can go from 1.1 up to 1.4. For example, the Nature Valley Grand Prix is ranked 2.1 while the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium (aka Charlotte Crit) is ranked 1.1.
Based on their ranking, races are assigned a set of points that riders can earn over the course of a stage race, or for where they finish in a one-day race. The higher-ranked the race, the more points there are on offer. (See points table).
Let’s take an example, Amber Neben (HTC-HighRoad) is currently leading the women’s individual classification with 217 points, all accrued from the NRC opener, the 2.2-ranked Redlands Bicycle Classic. The overall GC winner of the race earned 160 points, while the 2nd and 3rd place finishers gained 120 and 96 respectively. Riders who finished in the top 35 overall also earn points in descending value. Over the course of those four days, riders can also earn points for winning a stage, or placing in the top four of a stage. The GC leader of a 2.2-ranked race also earned 8 extra points each day.
Let’s breakdown Neben’s 217 points: 160 points for the overall + 25 points for winning the prologue + 32 points in bonus for leading the GC over 4 days (or 4 * 8 points)
Team standings. Changes were made for the 2011 road season. As we found out in our closer look at teams, only riders on teams registered with (and paid the fee to) USA Cycling can accrue points in the team classification. A significant change was also made as to how team standings are calculated:
- The top three riders in each team at each event score points for their teams
- The points the top three riders earn from the individual NRC points table from each event are added together to give the team total
- Stage or Omnium daily win bonuses are also added
Let’s use an example once again. The RealCyclist.com team leads the men’s team standings with 330 points. Let’s break it down. A total of 4 riders on the squad earned NRC points but only the top 3 are accrued in the team classification, those three were Francisco Mancebo, Cesar Grajales and Cole House. With his overall win, prologue win and GC lead over the 4 days, Mancebo earned 217 points. Grajales earned 80 pts for his 5th on GC while House gained 25 pts for his stage win and 8 pts for finishing 28th on GC.
The NRC which started with the Redlands Bicycle Classic in March ends with the 1.4-ranked CapCrit p/b WCSA in Wasington DC on Oct 2nd. The next NRC race is the SRAM Tour of the Gila, the 2.2-ranked 5-day stage race in New Mexico.