A Closer Look At UCI Standings

Posted on 19. Oct, 2011 by in news

Yesterday, the UCI issued the first Cyclocross Rankings of the 2011/12 season causing a surprise to many. The updated rules, which included how the rankings would be calculated, were issued this past summer and were missed by many – including yours truly.

The UCI ranking (or classification) is of prime importance because it is used for the start order of riders, with the top eight riders present taking the front row.

So it’s time to take a closer look at how a rider accumulates points. One of the major changes this year was a return to a rolling 12-month calendar (except for juniors), as specified by rule 5.2.003 as follows:

Men Elite/U23 and Women
The UCI cyclo-cross classification is drawn up over a period of one year by adding the points won since the preceding ranking was drawn up. At the same time the remaining points obtained up to the same day of the previous year by each rider in international cyclo-cross events are deducted. The new ranking comes into force on the day of publication and stands until the publication of the subsequent ranking.

Men Juniors
The UCI cyclo-cross classification for men juniors is drawn up by summing the points won by each rider in international cyclo-cross events in the period from 1 September to 28 or 29 February.

The UCI ranking is published the Tuesday after each of the eight World Cup rounds, the National Championships mandatory date, the Continental Championships, the World Championships and at the end of the season (end of February).

Points gained by a rider depend on the class of an event. Of note, Elite Women and Elite Men get the same number of points for an event. There are now 16 categories in this calendar year offering points, listed in decreasing order (see points table)

  1. UCI world championships men elite and UCI world championships women
  2. UCI world championships men under 23
  3. UCI world championships men juniors
  4. UCI world cup events men elite and women
  5. UCI world cup events men under 23
  6. UCI world cup events men juniors
  7. continental championships men elite (except Europe), women
  8. continental championships men under 23
  9. continental championships men juniors
  10. national championships men elite and women
  11. national championships men under 23
  12. national championships men juniors
  13. events in class 1 men elite and women
  14. events in class 2 men elite and women
  15. events in the class men under 23 (where there is a separate event for men elite)
  16. events in the class men juniors

But a rider does not accumulate all the points throughout the rolling calendar. Though all the World Cup and Championship points are used, only the best six results from Class 1 (C1) events, the best five results from Class 2 (C2) events are part of the calculation. For men junior’s class, the best 6 results are used.

Starting at 200 points, a World Cup offers up points 50-deep, while a C1 starts at 80 points and goes 15 deep and a C2 starts at 40 points and goes 10 deep. Which means that a rider can have at the most 480 points from C1 races and 200 points from C2s during the year.

Of the 50 UCI races in the USA, none are World Cups, 10 are C1s, 39 are C2s and one is the National Championships. Of the 34 races for Men Elite in Belgium, three are World Cups and 17 are C1s.

UCI rankings determine who gets the all important front row

UCI rankings determine who gets the all important front row

Nys vs Powers. As an example, let’s take a look at the standings of two riders, current leader Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-KDL) and top American in the classification, Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus).

In the past 12 months, Nys has raced a total of 37 events, divided into eight World Cups, 17 C1s, 11 C2s and one World Championship. During the same time, Powers raced 25 events with three World Cups, seven C1s, 13 C2s, one National Championship and one World Championship. Nys has maxed out on his C1 points while Powers is maxed out on his C2 points. (See Powers’ complete point tally, Nys’ complete point tally.)

Nys Powers
Results points
Results points
World Champs 2nd 360 16th 100
World Cup 1st, 2nd, 4 x 3rd, 2 x 5th 1140 10th, 19th, 36th 126
C1 6 x 1st 480 1st, 2nd, 3 x 3rd, 4th 290
C2 4 x 1st, 2nd 190 5 x 1st 200
Nationals none 0 3rd 40
Total 2170 756

The next update should happen next week following this weekend’s World Cup in Tabor, Czech Republic. Which means that Powers will reduce his C1 points by 23 points as his 40 point gained at last year’s USGP #3 will no longer be used in the calculations. Though he will lose his 40 points from the USGP #4 race, his C2 points will still be maxed out. Of course, he will also gain the points from this weekend’s World Cup.

As for Nys, he will lose 110 points from one World Cup result to be replaced by whatever he wins this weekend.

What if? Last year, the UCI Standings were started with a clean slate at the beginning of the year. What if the calendar was not rolling but all other rules were the same, what would the standings look like? Well by my calculations, Powers would be on top with 422 points. Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) would have 351 points, Nys, 350 and Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt) would be at 320.

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