Women's DH Points Revised, Enduro Shock Swaps and XC Fields Shrunk in 2020 UCI Regulations

Oct 3, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  
Amaury Pierron was disappointed in his run after making two big mistakes and being so close to the win

The UCI has today announced the new regulations that will come into force for the 2020 race season. In the past couple of years, we've had rejigs to the start ordering, fields cut and ebike competitions added but there's nothing quite so drastic this year. Instead, there are a few tweaks here and there with XCC being the most affected discipline.

Let's take a look through each discipline and the changes to expect:

Downhill
Finn Iles set the first fast time of the day and gave Canada brief hope of a medal

4.9.023 - Bikes are no longer allowed on the course during track walk.

4.9.027 - The junior men's finals field has expanded from 20 riders to 25. All other fields stay the same size - 60 men, 15 women, and any junior women that complete a seeding run.

4.9.031 - There are now no protected junior riders at the start of the World Cup season, down from 1 last year.

4.9.037 C - The points scale for Elite women has been changed. Women outside the top 10 will now score fewer points and women outside the top 15 (who didn't qualify) will score no points. The full scale can be seen in the picture below, the new points are in red.




Enduro
Isabeau Courdurier was fighting Illness all day but pushed through to help pull her reach team to victory

4.5.003 - Rear suspension can now be changed during an enduro event. It used to be labeled along with wheels, forks, and frames and checked at the finish but it now no longer will be. Replacing the rest of them will still result in a 5-minute penalty but now only if the swap is approved by a race official.

4.5.004 - Full face helmets with detachable chins can now be used if an organiser stipulates that full-face helmets must be worn in a race.



XCO
One hard lap. It s an all out effort for your team mates and country.

4.9.003 - Riders must now have a minimum of 60 UCI points to compete in an Elite World Cup, up from 20. It rises from 40 to 80 in Men Under 23 and stays at 20 points in Women Under 23. This will likely shrink the field sizes as it has done in downhill in previous years.

4.9.015 If a rider registers for the Short Track but does not compete, they will be barred from taking the start line in the XCO race, unless signed off by the chief medical officer.



The full list of new race regulations can be found here.


63 Comments

  • 58 1
 no bikes allowed on course during track walks? No Shit. How is that already not a rule?
  • 6 0
 They used to ride down the side of the course in the taped buffer area...
  • 35 18
 Points need to be tighter, not more spread apart. bad rule change for women dh
  • 91 3
 No, the points should be spread apart to reflect the huge gaps in time within the women's field. If someone is finishing 30 seconds behind the winner then it needs to be reflected in the points distribution.
  • 3 7
flag SnowshoeRider4Life (Oct 3, 2019 at 7:15) (Below Threshold)
 @thesharkman: i'm meaning more at the top of the result sheets. too large of gaps. Also for men's.
  • 3 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: why? a finale like this year in snowshoe would not be as dramatic as it was with such rules
  • 11 5
 @thesharkman: take each racer's time as a percentage of winner's and assign accordingly? Winner gets 100, everyone else gets their percentage. Highest number end of season wins.
  • 1 0
 @Sethimus: how about more riders being able to take it and tighter points standings?
  • 2 0
 @SprSonik: This would be unfair in changing weather conditions.
  • 6 26
flag jaame (Oct 3, 2019 at 12:14) (Below Threshold)
 A good way to spice up the women's field would be to throw a dice to determine points for each finishing position. For example, it could be 200 points for 13th place and 40 points for 1st. That would turn the excitement up a notch for the average fan who is just waiting for the men's event to start.
  • 1 0
 @bbqmike: weather changing conditions are unfair no matter what. The percentage thing would be most eye opening in the women's field where gaps outside of top 2/3 are massive.
  • 2 0
 @SprSonik: Then everyone would just take it a lot more cautiously to try have a consistent season. No one would be pushing 100% for a good position, because crashing once would mean you're out of the runnings for the whole season.
  • 14 0
 Gonna bring my climbing shock, flow shock, and gnat shock on every ride now. Now to find a way to strap them to my frame...
  • 5 0
 If only some came up with a lever that did all that .... CFG, climb, flow, gnar
  • 4 0
 @yeti-monster: No, I think he meant a gnat shock. Head to whatever excuse for Walmart you have and you'll see the type.
  • 7 0
 What's the reasoning for allowing a shock to be changed but not say a fork?
  • 16 0
 The original rule 4.5.003 used to say 'one front and one rear suspension unit' though it has only ever been enforced for forks. At EWS events there have never been stickers put on the rear shock, so I figure this is just an edit to the rulebook to align it with past and current practice. Less of a rule change and more of a text correction/update in this case.
  • 9 1
 I don't see the point either. Also the rule might benefit sponsored riders that can use a more approprieate shock in different stages
  • 3 0
 @ltrumpore: interesting. I always assumed it was both fork and shock. Still don't understand why it's one and not the other though.
  • 10 1
 @kiksy: The five stickered parts are essentially the structural members of the bike (frame, swingarm, fork, wheels) whereas the rear shock could be considered a component similar to brakes, shifters, etc. Also, it would be difficult to mark the entire shock since it could conceivably be totally replaced while keeping the marked air can or resi from the original. The point of marking frame/fork/wheels is to compel riders to use components that are durable enough to last through the entire race and to ride in such a way that they make it to the finish intact. This isn't really an issue with rear shocks. If anything, I'd think the rule would be changed to include both the fork uppers and lowers since at the moment only the crown/steerer/upper assembly gets a sticker.
  • 4 7
 There is a big safety component here that is probably underrated. For example, shocks can self destruct by having the rebound circuit go. Trying to ride fast with wide open rebound will result in more crashes. Having the compression side of things go will result in blowing through your shock and constantly bottoming out (This is much worse when it happens in the fork).
  • 7 0
 @ltrumpore: I’ve always understood these rules of having one piece of equipment to reflect how enduro started. Friends just out riding bikes in the mountains. In which case, no one would ever carry a spare wheel, fork, shock, etc in their pack. But they certainly might carry a spare chain or tube.

Thru that lens I really like the idea of forcing use of only one fork and shock. It adds to the challenge of the racing puzzle.
  • 10 0
 @HurricaneCycles: They also don't tend to carry a spare seatpost, handlebar, brakes, cranks, or pedals either. As for requiring riders to run one shock to prevent them from changing it for some performance gain, there's never been a rule against it at the EWS level yet and I can't think of a single instance in the past 7 seasons where anyone has done it. Sure they might opt for either coil or air from one race to the next, but you just don't see anyone swapping mid-race for any number of reasons. Namely, most riders prefer consistency with suspension feel and the stages are variable enough (and practice limited enough) that there's little reason to make that sort of a change for just one of them. Also, tech assistance is usually limited to one trip back to the pits per day. This means any kind of change will have to be run for several stages and not just a single optimal one. Aside from the external adjustments, the vast majority of professional EWS racers don't change their setup all season let alone for a single stage or two. I'd argue the best rulebooks have the least possible number of rules, so no sense creating one to control for a situation that really never happens anyway.
  • 1 0
 @HurricaneCycles: *continued: It's easy to look at the rule change as something that was done to allow riders an option previous unavailable to them (like running different sized wheels in DH, for example). But realistically, it's more of an update to the UCI rulebook to make the wording more in line with current practice. At the EWS level, which I assume to be the blueprint for the UCI rulebook, the rear shock has never been an identified/stickered component so the 4.5.003 text has been edited to reflect this. One could argue it's more a correction than a change.
  • 5 8
 Enduro needs to be ran with tight equipment restrictions. Racing is supposed to drive product development. If riders are swapping stuff between stages, product development is not going to focus on making things reliable, which affects the consumer.

If it was up to me, I would say that per season, teams get 1 frame, and then additional 2x of every component (with the exception of disposables like chains, brake pads, tires), all locked up in a crate and tracked by UCI at the end of every event. Then, per event, teams get x amount of time per crew member to do maintenance or repairs on the bike, which can be used up front, during the event, or after events, with the possibility of one unlimited time maintenance session halfway through the season where teams can evaluate wear and tear and make appropriate strategy decisions.

This would not only take a large chunk of funding out of the equation for being able to afford to participate, but also make the events more about equipment and strategy, which will then translate to much more consumer value in watching these events.
  • 1 0
 They still have to carry any spares don't they? I suspect that the riders won't want to carry a spare shock. That's a lot of extra weight for minimal gain. Where this will likely be used is on races that are over 2 days - such as Whistler. I could see riders using a coil shock on the Day 1 Top of the World to the village, then switching to a lighter air shock for the more pedaly day 2.
  • 5 0
 @phops: I'm not sure how racing can be expected to drive product development if you starve the teams and manufacturers of the ability to test and develop product while they are racing?

As is there's only so much that can be done in the one 10-15 minute pit stop they usually get, and that often just means checking bolts, pressures, and trying to fix any damaged parts as best as they can since full replacement risks missing the next time check. I think you'd be surprised at how little maintenance goes on in the pits during a race day, which itself is a testament to the reliability of most components these days.

micro managing access to spare parts and maintenance time sounds like a great way for too many rules to get in the way of exciting racing.
  • 1 0
 @nzstormer: They've always been able to do this at the EWS as rear shocks have never been considered 'officially marked equipment.' The article is a bit misleading as it suggests this is a new rule change, when in practice the previous rule was worded incorrectly (or was at least not consistent with the benchmark rules set by the EWS). The reason you haven't seen riders changing rear shocks between stages in the past isn't because they couldn't, it's because they don't choose to.

As I understand it, part of the EWS involvement with the UCI is to develop a common rulebook for enduro. So this rule 'change' is really just aligning the wording of the UCI rule with current EWS rules which provide no restriction on replacing parts so long as it is done a) with parts carried by the rider or another competitor, or b) is done at the designated time in the official tech zone. The exception being the frame, fork, and wheels which can only be replaced after notifying an official and receiving a time penalty. So in practice this change to the wording does not change the rules currently governing EWS racing at all, but rather bring the two into alignment.
  • 8 0
 We've always been allowed to swap shocks, same with being able to use a helmet with detachable chins... Such a HUGE change hahahahahaha !!!
  • 1 0
 I think it's a shame they aren't increasing the number of parts you can replace.
  • 1 0
 @yoannbarelli: Not always - I've seen big arguments with commissaires over that in the past. There was a criteria once about having a DH standard helmet (which makes sense as with this wording you can run a 90s Switchblade, I believe, I haven't read the whole rulebook), but in practice this was hard to manage as riders had to prove their helmet met the conditions.
  • 2 2
 @ltrumpore:

You have to remember that we are talking about enduro bikes. Mid travel trail bikes are sold in higher number than pure enduro rigs, and are fine enough for most people to do everything from xc to park, and those bikes perform quite well in those places and are quite reliable.

But when I choose to buy an enduro bike, I want that thing to be built to last on top of regular reliability. Endurance is literally the main theme of enduro. And it doesn't give me confidence when teams are showing up to these races with brand new bikes with fresh fork internals, new bearings, and new wheels. And even worse, the riders are allowed to swap suspension components mid way. This means that the components are going to be built lighter instead of burlier, since reliability over long term won't be that much of a concern.

The racing will definitely be exciting, as strategy is going to matter especially due to the end of the season. And I really don't give a shit about limiting manufacturing testing or development during racing, they make enough money off of overpriced bikes and components as they invent new pointless standards every 2 years - they can afford to test and develop in the offseason or between races. My changes will bring actual facts and data to the table when deciding which components are worth the money and which are not, which is worth more to the consumer than any sort of drawbacks in racing excitement or team limitations.
  • 1 0
 @phops: lol ok bro
  • 7 0
 Shock swapping? Lol. Run it how ya brung it
  • 4 0
 Can't wait to see quick release shock hardware again...
  • 6 0
 I wish they would explain the rule changes. Some of these seem unhelpful, and at best, confusing.
  • 1 1
 They probably want it that way. The more confusing, the more people won't pay attention, or try to figure it out; giving them more freedom to make less desirable rules.
  • 2 0
 LOL the UCI making sense.
  • 10 0
 My racing career won't be affected in the least by any of these changes.
  • 1 0
 Congratulations on being able to sum up the UCI in a single sentence.
  • 5 1
 Why mess with the elite women even more? I don't see how the points changes does anything to encourage women to compete. Its bad enough that RedBull broadcasts the runs of 10 women, and like 50 men.
  • 3 0
 Isn't this just going to make female riders even less interesting for teams?
  • 1 0
 If anything, it seems like teams/sponsors pushing the UCI to give a shit, not vice versa - though that's certainly far from uniform.
  • 6 3
 UCI: "You know how most sports are working to get more women participation? Yeah f*ck that."
  • 1 1
 How about to give a real chance to the xc riders that didn’t do very well in the short track and by that they lose more than 2 or 3 minutos in the starting 2 km for the guys in the first row ,make like 6 or 7 lines and make them starting 30 seconds apart or so
  • 1 1
 I would try to distribute points having in mind time gaps like the sharkman said. So at the end of the season who has steadlily built a lead can relax and not get caught in a mistake and loose a whole years work.
  • 1 0
 Do a timed pit style for shock swap outs, pit lane would intresting during race....but i thought that what shakedown day was for, you sort it out before you race.
  • 1 0
 30-34 Masters World Championships are no longer a thing. (4.12.004). 35+ still exist, of course.
  • 2 1
 Hold on, is this serious? No category for Masters Worlds until 35+ now? I.e. I can't race Pra Loup this year?
  • 7 0
 Having just read the relevant section of the rule book I see you are correct, I'm not sure if I'm more disappointed by this or the realisation that I'm actually going to be in 35-39 anyway. :/
  • 27 3
 Masters should start at 40. Being in your 30s is the same as your 20s, unless you have a kid and that's on you.
  • 1 0
 @lelandjt: how old is are you?
  • 1 0
 f*ck, why this?
  • 1 0
 Do you think that they will ever consider changes to the protected rider status?
  • 5 5
 How about an intersex or transcatagory to make the 1awomens competition fair again?
  • 1 2
 MTB competitions exist in their current from for the sole purpose of getting you to buy more bikes, its not some sort of age honored tradition that represents ones worth as a person. It honestly doesn't matter in the long run who wins, its all about the excitement of racing and the trickle down of technology to consumers, and at the same time, completely unfair in more than one way (for example, you can be in great physical shape, but if you are poor, there is absolutely no way you are even getting to race at any high level). The transgender issue is so minor that it really doesn't affect the sport.

If there was a field of M2F transgender people that took all the top spots in women's races, I would agree with you, but for now, given the global social climate, it's better just to let them race in the gender category that they feel natural in.
  • 2 0
 Great idea. Try telling that to the women who are losing to transgender athletes Phops.
  • 1 1
 @FairGoFalcon:

I love how you pretty much ignored everything in my post lol.

Do you really think that men and women that come in second in MTB races are devastated? Or is it more likely that they still get paid a hefty salary by their sponsors, still get recognition, and still get to do what they love, even if they aren't even in the top 3?
  • 1 0
 Can you swap links?
  • 1 0
 The one that isn't sticker-ed theoretically i think so yes.
  • 2 0
 Yes! your allowed to swap for ebike rear end with hidden motor.....
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