Colorado Springs, Colo. (August 12, 2010) – USA Cycling announced today that its Road, Track & Cyclocross Board of Trustees has voted in favor of several rule changes for the upcoming cyclocross season.

The new rules are in line with the UCI rulebook and will take effect at the beginning of the 2010/2011 cyclocross season. The changes accomplish the following three things:

1) Establish rules for cyclocross 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:

Course Design
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 four to six meters instead of the prescribed four meters.
  • The number of obstacles has been changed from six total obstacles to six 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 F
  • 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

Tire Width
The UCI has narrowed the maximum width of a cyclocross tire from 35mm to 33mm. 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 USCF Board of Trustees is not adding any tire width requirement. [Editor’s note: Based upon our conversations with USA Cycling’s Micah Rice, national events director, and Shawn Farrell, technical director, our understanding is that this means the tire width restriction applies to UCI Elite and Junior 17-18 races only, and to all fields at Nationals. Look for more on the rules in Cyclocross Magazine‘s upcoming print issue #10.]

Disc Brakes
This also does not affect local events, but the UCI will now allow disc brakes for international events.

Lapped Riders
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.