What are the funding levels?

Level 1: For athletes qualifying via the specified automatic criteria, USA Cycling will provide one economy class, single destination airfare, which includes three pieces of luggage: Two bikes and one suitcase each under 50lbs (excess weight or additional bag charges are responsibility of the athlete). USA Cycling will also provide ground transportation at event location, food, lodging, all mechanical/race support, TravMed Insurance and competition clothing from Thursday, January 30th through Monday, February 3, 2014.

Level 2: For athletes qualifying via the specified automatic criteria, USA Cycling will provide ground transportation at event location, food, lodging, all mechanical/race support, TravMed Insurance and competition clothing from Thursday, January 30th through Monday, February 3, 2014. Level 2 funded-athletes are responsible for their own airfare and excess baggage expenses.

Level 3: After the maximum number of funded spots have been exhausted athletes qualifying via automatic criteria or named to the team via discretionary nomination will be responsible for a “Team Service Fee.”. The Service Fee for this event and this level is $800.00. This fee includes: ground transportation at event location, food, lodging, all mechanical/race support, TravMed Insurance and competition clothing from Thursday, January 30th through Monday, February 3rd. Level 3 funded athletes are responsible for their own airfare and excess baggage expenses

Note: According to USAC, funding will not roll down if no rider in the category qualifies for the Level 1 funding (i.e Jeremy Powers qualifies for Level 2, and even though no man qualifies for Level 1 status, he won’t have his airfare covered.)

Who qualifies for which level of funding?

Level 1 Funding: Any athlete placing in the top three at the prior year’s World Championships in the same event and category. In order to maintain their position on the Team, the eligible athlete(s) must continue to demonstrate the ability to finish in the top three at the World Championships during the current racing season. This evaluation will be based on results from major international competition and current ranking on the appropriate UCI Individual Classification. If more than one rider meets this criterion, then the rider with the highest placing will be nominated.

Level 2 Funding:

  • The top three ranked athletes on the UCI Individual Rankings as of January 13, 2014 provided those athletes are ranked in the top fifty overall.
  • Any athlete with a top five finish in a UCI World Cup event between the dates of October 20, 2013 and January 5, 2014. If more than one athlete meets this criterion, the athlete with the highest placing in a World Cup will be nominated. If two athletes achieve the same World Cup finish result, the athlete with the highest World Cup ranking as of January 6, 2014 will be nominated.
  • The winner of the 2014 National Cyclocross Championships provided that race is held in its entirety and run under UCI regulations.
  • Any athlete with a top 10 finish in a UCI World Cup event between the dates of October 20, 2013 and January 5, 2014. If more athletes meet this criterion than there are places available on the team, the athletes with the highest placing in a World Cup will be nominated. If two or more athletes achieve the same World Cup finish result, the athlete with the highest World Cup ranking will be nominated.
  • The athlete with the most accumulated UCI Ranking Points from the following races: Clif Bar Cross Vegas, Providence Cyclocross Festival, Cincy3 Lionhearts International Cross After Dark, Sophisticated Living Derby City Cup, The Jingle Cross Rock, Deschutes Brewery Cup

Level 3 Funding: If positions remain, then athletes may be selected by the USA Cycling Selection Committee following USA Cycling Principles of Athlete Selection.

Full PDF rules can be found here.

Conclusion?

Having Nationals and team selection in January with two weeks to plan a trip to Europe, especially for those who were discretionary picks and therefore had no idea if they would make the team until January 13 when the announcement was made, is short notice for finding airfare. For example, right now a round trip ticket from Denver to Brussels in time for Worlds would run $1200 before adding in bike fees. Adding in bike fees and incidentals, that’s a $2000 commitment for Level 2 racers, and nearly $3000 for Level 3 discretionary picks.

As a counterpoint to those who say that USA Cycling should be fully funding all riders, consider this: in Canada, all cyclocross Worlds participants are self-funded because it’s not an Olympic sport.

And while it’s easy to condemn USAC for not taking care of the racers, it must be noted: at least the US is sending a full contingent of racers. For example, people may remember the French racers Julie Krasniak and Caroline Mani, who last year were not able to race for France, despite their willingness to pay their own way. Other countries—including Belgium—aren’t sending full women’s squads this year, sending four of the possible six racers. So while it might be expensive for the racers, at least the opportunity is available for our top racers.

Let us know in the comments what you think about the funding levels: Do you think USAC should foot more of the bill for all racers, or maybe just cover more for Juniors who may not have teams to support them, or do you think that right now USAC is sinking more money than necessary into the ’cross Worlds team?

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Molly Hurford is the Managing Editor of Cyclocross Magazine. When she isn't writing about cyclocross races, she's likely competing in one. Or running, or climbing, or swimming. Professionally nomadic, she'll probably pop up at a race near you at some point. If you like her work, help support her by subscribing to Cyclocross Magazine!
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