In an effort to meet Colorado' mass gathering requirements, USA Cycling is considering a time trial format for the XC National Championships this year as opposed to the normal mass start race.
The Nationals were originally supposed to run at Winter Park on July 6-12 but are currently postponed until August 13-16 for downhill and enduro and August 20-23 for XC. Alongside the new dates, the governing body yesterday announced that it is also considering changing the format of the XC Nationals into an individual time trial in an attempt to offer, "participants an event that is as safe as possible."
From what we understand, this will mean riders set off on a circuit at staggered intervals, similar to in enduro or downhill racing, and the fastest time will win. Whether the circuit will be a point to point or a loop, what those intervals might be or any other details on how the event would run are currently unavailable. While it would definitely be a shame to lose the tactics and action of head-to-head racing, it will still no doubt be a better option for most racers than the Nationals being canceled outright.
The governing body said: "We recognize that changes such as these may dishearten those who have been holding out hope for a sense of normalcy that comes with a regular training schedule and a quest for Nationals. We and our Local Organizing Committees have worked through countless options for our National Championships and this is one additional option that may be needed for safety and to meet regulations.
"We want to be clear that even though events may be currently postponed, if we cannot reasonably ensure the safety of our members, volunteers and host communities we will not run a National Championship. We will continue to provide status updates over the next couple of months and we will not open any registration until we are confident we can successfully and safely hold an event."
USAC will be sending its next update about the event on June 30.