The UCI for 2010 have re-introduced the mandatory wearing of the National Champs Jersey during any timed runs and podium appearances.
So what I hear you ask? Well what if you're a pro rider in with a shot of the National Champs jersey? If you win that coveted jersey then all your big time sponsors get not much more space than a postage stamp of real estate, if any! Come and join in on the debate..
I'll quickly go through the regs, swiftly as not to bore you to death... Now these are for Great Britain and I'm sure will apply across the board to whatever country you are from.
During practise you can wear your team colours
National Champions Jersey Regulations.
The British Cycling logo should appear on the left hand side of the breast of the garment. Use of the British Cycling logo is specified in a style guide available from British Cycling.
Band to be 5cms wide in order of Red, White and Blue.
Manufacturers logo can appear only once on the jersey on the right hand side of the breast section with an area of 25 sq. cm.
Red, White and Blue bands can appear on collar and cuffs. Other regulations regarding National Champs jersey appear in tech reg 8.4.Technical Regulations 8.4:8.4
National Championship Jerseys:8.4.1
The design of a National Championship jersey for men and women shall be white with 5 cm wide red, white and blue bands around the chest, the red band being uppermost.8.4.3
The National Championship jersey must be worn by the holder when competing in events of the relevant discipline, unless eligible to wear the jersey of World Champion or event/series leader.8.4.4
The following advertising inscriptions are permitted on National Championships jerseys: 18.104.22.168
On the front and back - within a rectangle with a maximum height of 10 cm.22.214.171.124
On each side - a lateral band with a maximum height of 9 cm.126.96.36.199
On quarter sleeves - one line with a maximum height of 5 cm.188.8.131.52
The garment manufacturer's mark may also appear once and within a maximum area of 25 sq. cm.184.108.40.206
The only inscription which is permitted on the National Championship jersey presented to a rider on the podium immediately after a National Championship is that of the garment manufacturer which may appear once and within a maximum area of 25 sq. cm.
British National Champs 2009 - Note the Masters and Vets wear a blue top.
With this new rule in place I went about and asked a few of the top riders and team managers out there about what affect this will have on their decision to race what is deemed as the most prestigious domestic race of the year.
Martin Whiteley - President IMTTO:
The position of IMTTO is very clear, and has been stated a number of times to the UCI.
The National Champion's Jerseys is not the same at the National Team kit which is worn once a year at Worlds and only in the race, not in training.
The National Champion's Jerseys have to be worn in all UCI Calendar races. This has been the way of life in Road Cycling for many years (where teams can be up to 24 riders strong), but in DH and 4X, teams are rarely more than 4, and in the case of IMTTO members, usually 2 or 3. If you have 2 or 3 National Champions on your team, your team identity and branding is lost. We are not against recognizing national champions, and we want our riders to race those championships with pride, that's why we advocate the use of the national champion bands on the jersey...this gives recognition to the champion riders but at the same time allows their employers, the teams, to give their sponsors and team identity the full exposure they need as teams of non-Olympic disciplines in order to survive and grow.
Is the UCI World Cup Leaders Jersey another fly in the ointment
Scott Beaumont - Multiple 4x National Champion:
Currently not attending National Championships at all in 2010. If I did attend, I intend to get the holeshot lead the race and stop before the finish line, looking to take 2nd position and maximum world ranking points without wearing the jersey.
I feel re introducing the National Champions Jersey is a step backwards and will lead to problems with Elite participation at National Championships in 2010 for Downhill and 4X.
I also feel this will lead to some moto cross clothing manufacturers, re-thinking their involvement with the UK’s and World’s finest gravity riders and events. To give you an example of the impacts, in the UK, myself, Charlie Phillips the Elite Women’s 4X National Champion, the British Downhill Series and the National Points 4X Series are all sponsored by Fox Racing Europe.
Tracy Moseley the elite women's National Champion is sponsored by Alpinestars, and Gee Atherton the Elite men's National Champion is sponsored by Animal. Fox, Alpinestars and Animal have no interest or any potential sales revenue from National Champions jerseys. They simply take sales away from their business.
Incredible that for 2009 UCI banned lycra and skinsuits specifically from Downhill and 4X. So all the riders and teams got sponsored by moto x kit manufacturers who cannot produce one or two national champs jerseys for each rider like lycra manufacturers can. It is a nightmare for any professional rider or team in 4X and downhill.
It’s a tough economic world out there and this decision is not great for the sport of 4X and downhill. The armbands that we used in 2009 were a perfect solution. Riders were happy, sponsors were happy and event organisers were happy.
Now we have forums talking about it, Facebook petitions and magazines asking us about Boycotts. It could have all been avoided if the UCI had left things as they were last year...
We race the World Championships because a World Champions jersey can be reproduced in the correct numbers and sold at outlets worldwide to increase sales. A National Champions jersey is hard to distinguish which country it represents and has an extremely limited market. A World Champion jersey has a much bigger audience and potential sales. Plus the endorsement of a World Champion can help to sell that jersey. A National Champion jersey just does not have the kudos for the customer and sales potential for the manufacturer.Trust me. Armbands again = everyone's happy.
No more brand logos galore means less photo bonuses for the riders..
Stu Thomson - MTBCut.tv:
From my perspective when I was a rider and now as a team manager I'd always encourage riders to take part in the National Champs regardless of the jersey.
However, both myself as a racer and now my riders Ben Cathro and Joe Barnes are not at the same level as Peaty or the Athertons and as a sponsor I am not plowing hundreds of thousands of ££'s into them. If Ben or Joe won the Nationals I would be delighted (as I was with Ben's 2nd last year) and as long as my name appeared on the Champs jersey somewhere I would be content with both the knowledge of Ben/Joe having won and the coverage I would have gained out of it. It would be a great return on the investment I put in.
On the other hand though. If I was Animal/Santa-Cruz/Commencal/GT/whoever and had invested so much money into Steve/Gee/Marc then I would not be encouraging them to race. Simply put, the credit/coverage/publicity they would receive for winning the champs doesn't outweigh the loss in advertising in reduction of logo's on the jersey.
In the case of World Champs, there is so much marketing and promotion to be gained from a rider winning Worlds and prestige to be gained from wearing the jersey(how much talk about Peaty in the stripes now!) that any brand would be stoked to have their rider being seen and promoting themselves as the best on the planet.
It seems crazy to me that a rider can have sponsors that support him/her all their career and then at perhaps what is the pinnacle of their achievements (being Nat Champ, Worlds selection or whatever) that they essentially have to stick the finger up to their sponsors.
I fully believe that a rider should celebrate their National or World title in a method like a jersey or armband, however this should not be to the detriment of the people and brands who believed in them and allowed them to achieve that title.
Don't mind being quoted on the lot... just don't miss quote me.... I'd say the last line sums it up best.
Kathy Sessler - SantaCruz Syndicate Team Manager:
Regarding my team, I'm sure Steve and Josh will be racing to win at National Champs. The arm bands is the best idea because it allows for the sponsors to get the deserved jersey space that they pay for. If they had to wear a National Championship jersey I would have to say that I would tell them not to win.
It's my understanding that the National Federations determine the National jersey, whether it is arm bands or overall design (correct me if I'm wrong, not 100% on that). So if a federation would like a good competitive National Championships, it would be wise for them to keep this jersey/arm band issue in mind if they wished to have top riders racing their best. When they raced halfheartedly it benefits no one and makes the National Championship title hollow.
Another option to wearing the National Champs jersey is by not wearing it and paying the UCI imposed fine for not wearing it. Not a very good option, but that is one way to give sponsors their branding. And if that was done it would also demean the National Champs title. Yet again, arm bands making sense.
Notice not one of these guys are wearing a National Champs Jersey. The UCI rules say you must wear it on the podium or a big fat fine comes your way. Just note that a World Champs jersey over-rides a National Champs jersey (Gee).
Regarding why we would race for the World Champs jersey...just a bit different prestige there with that one over the National jersey, and only one of those on the hill.
I'm not offering my opinion on this one except I ran the National Champs back in 2009 and what a race that was. All the top boys and girls were in the house and won respectively but so did downhill mountain bike racing that day.
Others have been a bit more vocal and started up on one of those teenager websites "Facebook" or something, you know, the place were nobody has real friends.Facebook National Champs Petition
I'm sure you lot will all have something to say about this hot topic, if not, why the hell have you got down to this part of the article?
Si Paton..Descent-Gear.comMichelin 2010 DH Tyres Instock 34.99GBP