Lost somewhere in the shuffle between the continued fallout from the USADA report on Lance Armstrong and the presentation of the 2013 Tour de France route was the release of the UCI Cyclocross Classification (aka UCI Rankings). The rankings are updated each week following a World Cup race. So, with the first World Cup race (Tabor) occurring this past Sunday, the UCI released the first rankings of the 2012/13 season. While many may have expected to see the likes of Sven Nys, Jeremy Powers, or Niels Albert at the top, rule 5.2.003 (enacted in 2011) continues to catch many by surprise. Here’s a refresher on how things currently work and what that means.
The UCI offers six categories of racing with different points structures. They start with the UCI World Championships (CM), which offer the most points and go the deepest. That’s followed by World Cup events (CDM), Continental Championships (CC), National Championships (CN), Class 1 (C1) and Class 2 (C2) events. Since World, continental and national championships only occur once a season, riders gain the bulk of their points from World Cup, C1 and C2 races. Here’s a little table to show you the drastic difference in the points that these races offer:
*any rider finishing beyond 5oth gets 5 points
As you can see, the points get larger and go deeper in the higher ranked races. Therefore, a rider who simply finishes a World Cup race gets more points than a rider who finished 8th in a C2 race and/or 13th in a C1 race.
Of course, the UCI makes things even more complicated. According to rule 5.2.006 the number of points a rider can be awarded per race category is limited. For C1 events the best 6 results of each rider is used and for C2 events, the best 5 results are used. World Cup results are not capped. So, your C2 points will max out at 200, C1 at 480, but your World Cup points would max out at 1600 (8 wins). As you can see, for riders such as Jeremy Powers and Sven Nys, their C2 points max out really quickly and often times their C1 points do as well.
Finally, we circle back to rule 5.2.003 which uses a calendar year to calculate the rankings. So, rather than using only the points accrued in this season in its initial rankings, the UCI uses the points from October 23, 2011 (the second World Cup race last season) to October 21, 2012 (the first World Cup of this season). That means that if a rider like Sven Nys won 5 C2 races last winter, his C2 points for this year are currently maxed out. This is where things get complicated, so here are three real life examples:
Kevin Pauwels’ 2012 Results:
|21 Oct 2012||UCI World Cup #1 – Tabor||1||200||CDM|
|14 Oct 2012||bpost bank trofee #1 – Ronse||2||30||C2|
|07 Oct 2012||Superprestige #1 – Ruddervoorde||3||40||C1|
|30 Sep 2012||Vlaamse Industrieprijs Bosduin||6||20||C1|
|29 Sep 2012||Fidea GP Neerpelt||5||10||C2|
Sven Nys’ 2012 Results:
|21 Oct 2012||UCI World Cup #1 – Tabor||5||110||CDM|
|18 Oct 2012||Kermiscross||2||30||C2|
|14 Oct 2012||bpost bank trofee #1 – Ronse||3||20||C2|
|07 Oct 2012||Superprestige #1 – Ruddervoorde||1||80||C1|
|30 Sep 2012||Vlaamse Industrieprijs Bosduin||1||80||C1|
|29 Sep 2012||Fidea GP Neerpelt||1||40||C2|
|16 Sep 2012||Süpercross Baden||11||8||C1|
Jeremy Powers’ 2012 Results:
|21 Oct 2012||UCI World Cup #1 – Tabor||7||90||CDM|
|15 Oct 2012||USGP of Cyclocross #4 – New Belgium Cup||1||40||C2|
|14 Oct 2012||USGP of Cyclocross #3 – New Belgium Cup||1||80||C1|
|07 Oct 2012||NEPCX #4 – Providence Cyclo-cross Festival||5||10||C2|
|06 Oct 2012||NEPCX #3 – Providence Cyclo-cross Festival||1||80||C1|
|30 Sep 2012||NEPCX #2 – Gran Prix of Gloucester||2||30||C2|
|29 Sep 2012||NEPCX #1 – Gran Prix of Gloucester||1||80||C1|
|24 Sep 2012||USGP of Cyclocross #2 – Planet Bike Cup||3||20||C2|
|23 Sep 2012||USGP of Cyclocross #1 – Planet Bike Cup||1||80||C1|
|20 Sep 2012||Cross After Dark Series #1 – CrossVegas||1||80||C1|
|15 Sep 2012||Nittany Lion Cross||1||40||C2|
So, if we went back to the pre 2011/2012 rules, where only this season’s results counted towards the rankings, Powers would be the number one ranked rider. However, using a calendar year, things look drastically different:
Kevin Pauwels’ Results:
Sven Nys’ Results:
Jeremy Powers’ Results:
As a result Pauwels currently has 2,363 points, Nys has 2,080 and Powers has 1,073. This means Pauwels is first, Nys second and Powers 10th. Even more interesting, Zdenek Stybar, who isn’t racing this season, is third in the rankings.
You’ll also notice that some of this year’s results are missing from our table. That’s because these riders have maxed out their points in 2011/2012, and their 2012 results will not count until the calendar year cycles through.
Hopefully that helps clear up and explain the complicated points system the UCI uses to rank cross riders, which also determines their start order. If the old system was in place, Powers would be the first rider in the grid, for now he’s stuck in the second row (the grid is 8 riders wide) and has to continue to get results in C1 and World Cup races to move up.