August 25, 2010 (Colorado Springs, CO0 – USA Cycling announced today that its Road, Track & Cyclo-cross Board of Trustees has voted in favor of several rule changes for the upcoming cyclo-cross season. The new rules are in line with the UCI rulebook and will take effect at the beginning of the 2010/2011 cyclo-cross season. The changes accomplish the following three things:
1) Establish rules for cyclo-cross race feeding
2) Change the manner in which lapped riders are handled to enable the use of the 80% rule currently utilized in many mountain bike events, and
3) Modify the rules regarding course obstacles (barrier height, distance between, and total number of obstacles on the course)
A summary of the rule changes is as follows:
There are several important changes to course design as outlined below:
The nature of the wooden planks has changed. Instead of having to be 40 cm high, they now can be up to 40 cm high. Also, the distance between the planks is now a range of 4 to 6 meters instead of the prescribed 4 meters.
The number of obstacles has been changed from 6 total obstacles to 6 artificial obstacles. This might make it possible for some courses to have more total obstacles than in the past. However, the limiting factor is that obstacles can still only be 10% of the course, so if you have a 3K circuit, you can only have 300 meters of obstacles.
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.
Feeding is now authorized under select circumstances:
It must be at least 68 degrees
Feeding must take place in the service lane only
It cannot take place in the first two or the last two laps
The penalty for feeding any other place or time is disqualification
The UCI has narrowed the maximum width of a cyclo-cross tire from 35 mm to 33 mm. The intent was to reduce the amount of equipment that many riders feel they must bring in order to be competitive.
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.
This also does not affect local events, but the UCI will now allow disc brakes for international events.
For the second year in a row, the UCI has changed how lapped riders are handled. They now have two ways to handle it. For domestic events, there are now three methods. The officials will decide what method is being used at each race and communicate that method to the riders.
Lapped riders can be left in the race and may finish on the same lap as the leader.
Lapped riders can be removed at the entrance to the final straight once they have been lapped. Note, sometimes when there are few officials, these same riders are removed at the line, but the UCI requires that no lapped rider ever cross the finish line.
Riders may be withdrawn per the 80% rule. For example, if the first lap took 10 minutes, then 80% of that is 8 minutes. This rule would require that each rider who is more than 8 minutes down every lap would be pulled. Again, this should happen at the entrance to the final straight or some other convenient location.
For a more in-depth look at the rule changes, please reference the complete rulebook here.